Alexander Berkman

e Bolshevik Myth (Diary 1920–22)
Tni Ax~icnis1 lini~iv
Preface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
1 e Log of the Transport “Buford” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
2 On Soviet Soil . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
3 In Petrograd . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
4 Moscow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
5 e Guest House . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
6 Tierin and Karakhan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
7 e Market . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
8 In the Moskkommune . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
9 e Club on the Tverskaya . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 40
10 A Visit to Peter Kropotkin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44
11 Bolshevik Activities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47
12 Sights and Views . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51
13 Lenin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55
14 On the Latvian Border . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58
l . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ¯s
ll . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . e1
lll . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . e.
lV . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . e¯
15 Ba in Petrograd . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70
16 Rest Homes for Workers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77
17 e First of May . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80
18 e British Labor Mission . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83
19 e Spirit of Fanaticism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89
20 Other People . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95
21 En Route to the Ukraina . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99
22 First Days in Kharkov . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102
23 In Soviet Institutions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 108
24 Yossif the Emigrant . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113
25 Nestor Makhno . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 118
26 Prison and Concentration Camp . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 122
27 Further South . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 127
28 Fastov the Pogromed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 129
29 Kiev . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 135
30 In Various Walks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 139
31 e Teka . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 148
32 Odessa: Life and Vision . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 151
33 Dark People . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 160
34 A Bolshevik Trial . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 165
35 Returning to Petrograd . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 168
36 In the Far North . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 173
37 Early Days of 1921 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 176
38 Kronstadt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 179
39 Last Links in the Chain . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 188
Revolution breaks the social forms grown too narrow for man. lt bursts the molds whid
constrict him the more solidified they become, and the more life ever striving forward leaves
them. ln this dynamic process the Russian Revolution has gone further than any previous
Te abolition of the established — politically and economically, socially and ethically —
the auempt to replace it with something different, is the reflex of man’s danged needs, of the
awakened consciousness of the people. Bac of revolution are the millions of living humans
who embody its inner spirit, who feel, think, and have their being in it. To them revolution
is not a mere dange of externals· it implies the complete dislocation of life, the shauering
of dominant traditions, the annulment of accepted standards. Te habitual, measured step
of existence is interrupted, accustomed criterions become inoperative, former precedents are
void. lxistence is forced into undarted dannels: every action demands self-reliance: every
detail calls for new, independent decision. Te typical, the familiar, have disappeared: dis-
solved is the coherence and interrelation of the parts that formerly constituted one whole.
New values are to be created.
Tis inner life of revolution, whid is its sole meaning, has almost entirely been neglected
by writers on the Russian Revolution. Many books have been published about that tremen-
dous social upheaval, but seldom do they strike its true keynote. Tey treat of the fall and
rise of institutions, of the new State and its structure, of constitutions and laws — of the
exclusively external manifestations, whid nearly make one forget the living millions who
continue to exist, to be, under all danging conditions.
Justly Taine said that in studying the lrend Revolution he found statistics and data, offi-
cial documents and edicts least illuminative of the real daracter of the period. lts significant
expression, its deeper sense, he discovered in the lives, thoughts, and feelings of the people, in
their personal reactions as portrayed in the memoirs, journals, and leuers of contemporaries.
Te present work is compiled from the Diary whid l kept during my two years’ stay in
Russia. lt is the dronicle of an intense experience, of impressions and observations noted
down day by day, in different parts of the country, among various walks of life. Most of the
names are deleted, for the obvious reason of protecting the persons in question.
So far as l know it is the only journal kept in Russia during those momentous years
(1)zc–1)zz). lt was a rather difficult task, as those familiar with Russian conditions will un-
derstand. But long practice in sud mauers — keeping memoranda even in prison — enabled
me to preserve my Diary through many vicissitudes and seardes, and get it safely out of the
country. lts Odyssey was adventurous and eventful. Aner having journeyed through Russia
for two years, the Diary succeeded in crossing the border, only to be lost before it could join
me. Tere followed an anxious hunt through several luropean lands, and when hope of lo-
cating my notebooks was almost given up, they were discovered in the auic of a very mud
frightened old lady in Germany. But that is another story.
Sufficient that the manuscript was finally found and can now be presented to the public
in the present volume. lf it will aid in visualizing the inner life of the Revolution during
the period described, if it will bring the reader closer to the Russian people and their great
martyrdom, the mission of my Diary will be accomplished and my efforts well repaid.
Alexander Berkman.
Chapter 1
e Log of the Transport “Buford”
On Board the U.S.T. “Buford.”
December 23, 1919. — We are somewhere near the Azores, already three days at sea. No
one seems to know whither we are bound. Te captain claims he is sailing under sealed or-
ders. Te men are nearly crazy with the uncertainty and worry over the women and dildren
len behind. What if we are to be landed on Denikin territory.
* * *
We were kidnapped, literally kidnapped out of bed in the dead of night.
lt was late in the evening, December zc, when the prison keepers entered our cell at lllis
lsland and ordered us to “get ready at once.” l was just undressing: the others were in their
bunks, asleep. We were taken completely by surprise. Some of us expected to be deported,
but we had been promised several days’ notice: while a number were to be released on bail,
their cases not having been finally passed upon by the courts.
We were led into a large, bare room in the upper part of the building. Helter-skelter the
men crowded in, dragging their things with them, badly paced in the haste and confusion.
At four in the morning the order was given to start. ln silence we filed into the prison yard,
led by the guards and flanked on ead side by city and lederal detectives. lt was dark and
cold: the night air dilled me to the bone. Scauered lights in the distance hinted of the huge
city asleep.
like shadows we passed through the yard toward the ferry, stumbling on the uneven
ground. We did not speak: the prison keepers also were quiet. But the detectives laughed
boisterously, and swore and sneered at the silent line. “Don’t like this country, damn you!
Now you’ll get out, ye sons of b—.”
At last we readed the steamer. l caught sight of three women, our fellowprisoners, being
taken aboard. Stealthily, her sirens dumb, the vessel got under way. Within half an hour we
boarded the Buford, awaiting us in the Bay.
At e A. M., Sunday, December z1, we started on our journey. Slowly the big city receded,
wrapped in a milky veil. Te tall skyscrapers, their outlines dimmed, looked like fairy castles
lit by winking stars and then all was swallowed in the distance.
* * *
December 24. — Te Buford is an old boat built in 1ss¯. She was used as a military transport
during the Philippine War, and is not seaworthy any more. We ship sea constantly, and it
pours through the hatdes. Two indes of water cover the floor: our things are wet, and there
is no steam heat.
Our three women companions occupy a separate cabin. Te men are cooped up in
crowded, ill-smelling steerage quarters. We sleep in bunks built three tiers high. Te loose
wire neuing of the one above me bulges so low with the weight of its occupant, it scratdes
my face whenever the man moves.
We are prisoners. Armed sentinels on dec, in the gangways, and at every door. Tey
are silent and sullen: strict orders not to talk to us. Yesterday l offered one of them an orange
— l thought he looked sic. But he refused it.
We caught a radio today about wholesale arrests of the radicals throughout the United
States. Probably in connection with protests against our deportation.
Tere is mud resentment among our men at the brutality that accompanied the deporta-
tion, and at the suddenness of the proceedings. Tey were given no time to get their money
or clothing. Some of the boys were arrested at their work-bendes, placed in jail, and de-
ported without a dance to collect their pay decs. l am sure that the American people,
if informed, would not stand for another boat-load of deportees being set adrin in the At-
lantic without enough clothes to keep them warm. l have faith in the American people, but
American officialdom is ruthlessly bureaucratic.
love of native soil, of home, is manifesting itself. l notice it especially among those who
spent only a few years in America. More frequently the men of Southern Russia speak the
Ukrainian language. All long to get to Russia quicly, to behold the land they had len in the
clutdes of Tsarism and whid is now the freest on earth.
We have organized a commiuee to take a census. Tere are z.e of us, besides the three
women. Various types and nationalities· Great Russians from New York and Baltimore:
Ukrainian miners from Virginia: leus, lithuanians, and one Tartar. Te majority are mem-
bers of the Union of Russian Workers, an Anardist organization with brandes throughout
the United States and Canada. About eleven belong to the Socialist Party in the United States,
while some are non-partisan. Tere are editors, lecturers, and manual workers of every kind
among us. Some are bewhiskered, looking typically Russian: others smooth-shaven, Ameri-
can in appearance. Most of the men are of decided Slavic countenance, with broad face and
high deek bones.
“We’ll work like devils for the Revolution,” Big Samuel, the West Virginia miner, an-
nounces to the group gathered around him. He talks Russian.
“You bet we will,” comes from a corner bunk in lnglish. lt’s the mascot of our cabin, a
red-deeked youth, a six-footer, whom we have dristened the “Baby.”
“Me for Baku,” an older man joins in. “l’m an oil driller. Tey’ll need me all right.”
l ponder over Russia, a country in revolution, a social revolution whid has uprooted the
very foundations, political, economical, ethical. Tere are the Allied invasion, the blocade,
and internal counter-revolution. All forces must be bent, first of all, to secure the complete
victory of the workers. Bourgeois resistance within must be crushed: interference from with-
out defeated. lverything else will come later. To think that it was given to Russia, enslaved
and tyrannized over for centuries, to usher in the New Day! lt is almost beyond belief, past
comprehension. Yesterday the most bacward country: today in the vanguard. Nothing short
of a miracle.
Unreservedly shall the remaining years of my life be consecrated to the service of the
wonderful Russian people.
December 25. —Te military force of the Buford is in command of a Colonel of the United
States Army, tall and severe-looking, about finy. ln his darge are a number of officers and
a very considerable body of soldiers, most of them of the regular army. Direct supervision
over the deportees is given to the representative of the lederal Government, Mr. Berkshire,
who is here with a number of Secret Service men. Te Captain of the Buford takes his orders
from the Colonel, who is the supreme authority on board.
Te deportees want exercise on dec and free association with our women comrades. As
their dosen spokesman l submiued their demands to Berkshire, but he referred me to the
Colonel. l refused to apply to the lauer, on the ground that we are political, not military,
prisoners. later the lederal man informed me that “the higher authorities” had granted us
exercise, but association with the women was refused. Permission, however, would be given
me to convince myself that “the ladies are receiving humane treatment.”
Accompanied by Berkshire and one of his assistants, l was allowed to visit lmma Gold-
man, Dora lipkin-Perkus, and lthel Bernstein. l found them on the upper dec, Dora and
lthel bundled up and mud the worse for sea-sicness, the motherly nurse ministering to
them. Tey looked forlorn, those “dangerous enemies” of the United States. Te powerful
American Government never appeared to me in a more ridiculous light.
Te women made no complaints· they are treated well and receive good food. But all
three are penned in a small cabin intended for one person only: day and night armed sentinels,
guard their door.
No trace of Christ appeared anywhere on the ship this Christmas Day. Te usual espi-
onage and surveillance, the same discipline and severity. But in the general messroom, at
dinner, there was an addition to the regular meal· currant bread and cranberries. More than
half of the tables were vacant, however· most of the men are in their bunks, sic.
December 26. — Rough sea, and more men “laid out.” Te six-foot “Baby” is the sicest of
them all. Te hatdes have been closed to keep the sea out, and it is suffocating below dec.
Tere are forty-nine men in our compartment: the rest are in the two adjoining ones.
Te ship physician has asked me to assist him on his daily rounds, as interpreter and
nurse. Te men suffer mostly from stomad and bowel complaints: but there are also cases
of rheumatism, sciatica, and heart-disease. Te Boris brothers are in a precarious condition:
young John Birk is growing very weak: a number of others are in bad shape.
December 27. — Te Boston deportee, a former sailor, claims the course of the Buford
was danged twice during the night. “Perhaps making for the Portugal Coast,” he said. lt is
rumored we may be turned over to Denikin. Te men are mud worried.
Human psydology everywhere has a basic kinship. lven in prison l found the deepest
tragedies lit up by a toud of humor. ln spite of the great anxiety regarding, our destination,
there is mud laughter and joking, in our cabin. Some wit among the boys has dristened the
Buford the “Mystery Ship.”
ln the anernoon Berkshire informed me that the Colonel wished to see me. His cabin,
not large, but light and dry, is quite different from our steerage quarters. Te Colonel asked
me what part of Russia we were “expecting to go to.” Te Soviet part, of course, l said. He
began a discussion of the Bolsheviki. Te Socialists, he insisted, wanted to “take away the
hard-earned wealth of the rid, and divide it among the lazy and the shinless.” lveryone
willing to work could succeed in the world, he assured me: at least America — the freest
country on earth — gives all an equal opportunity.
l had to explain to him the A B C of social science, pointing out that no wealth can be
created except by labor: and that by complex juggling — legal, financial, economic — the
producer is robbed of his product. Te Colonel admiued defects and imperfections in our
system — even in “the best system of the world, the American.” But they are human failings:
we need improvement, not revolution, he thought. He listened with unconcealed impatience
when l spoke of the crime of punishing men for their opinions and the folly of deporting
ideas. He believes “the government must protect its people,” and that “these foreign agitators
have no business in America, anyhow.”
l saw the futility of discussing with a person of sud infantile mentality, and closed the
argument by inquiring the exact point of our destination. “Sailing under sealed orders,” was
all the information the Colonel would voudsafe.
New Year’s Day, 1920. — We are geuing friendly with the soldiers. Tey are selling us
their extra clothing, shoes, and everything else they can lay their hands on. Our boys are
discussing war, government, and Anardism with the sentinels. Some of the lauer are mud
interested, and they are noting down addresses in NewYork where they can get our literature.
One of the soldiers —long Sam, they call him— is especially outspoken against his superiors.
He is “sore as hell,” he says. He was to be married on Christmas, but he got orders to report
for duty on the Buford. “l’m no damn tin soldier like them Nationals (National Guard),” he
says: “l’m sev’n years a reg’lar, an’ them’s the thanks l get. ‘Stead of bein’ with me goil l’m
in this floatin’ dump, between Hell an’ nowhere.”
We have organized a commiuee to assess every “possessing” member of our group for
the benefit of the deportees that lac warm clothing. Te men from Piusburgh, lrie, and
Madison had been shipped to lllis lsland in their working clothes. Many others had also
been given no time to take their trunks along.
A large pile of the collected apparel — suits, hats, shoes, winter underwear, hosiery, etc.
— lies in the center of our cabin, and the commiuee is distributing the things. Tere is mud
shouting, laughing, and joking. lt’s our first auempt at practical communism. Te crowd
surrounding the commiuee passes upon the claims of ead applicant and immediately acts
upon its verdict. A vital sense of social justice is manifested.
January 2, 1920. — ln Bisay Bay. Rolling badly. Te sailors say last night’s storm threw
us out of our course. Some ship, apparently Japanese, was signaling for help. We ourselves
were in sud a plight that we could not aid.
At noon the Captain sent for me. Te Buford is not a modern ship — he spoke guardedly
and we are in difficult waters. Bad time of the year, too: storm season. No particular danger,
but it is always well to be prepared. He would assign twelve lifeboats in my darge, and l
should instruct the men what to do should the contingency arise.
l have divided the z.e male deportees into a number of groups, puuing at the head of
ead one of the older comrades. (Te three women are assigned to the sailors’ boat.) We are
to have several trial alarms to tead the men how to handle the life belts, take their place in
line, and get without confusion to their respective boats. Te first test, this anernoon, was a
bit lame. Another trial, by surprise, is to take place soon.
January 3. — Rumors that we are bound for Danzig. lt is certain now we are making for
the lnglish Channel and expect to read it tomorrow. We feel greatly relieved.
January 4. — No dannel. No land. Very bad night. Te old tub has been dancing up and
down like a rubber shoe thrown into the ocean by vacationists at Coney lsland. Been busy
all night with the sic.
lveryone except Bianki and myself is keeping to his bunk. Some are seriously ill. Bianki’s
nephew, the young sdool boy, has lost his hearing. John Birk is very low. Novikov, former
editor of the New York Anardist weekly, Golos Truda, hasn’t touded food for days. ln lllis
lsland he spent most of his time in the hospital. He refused to accept bail as long as the others
arrested with him remained in prison. He consented only when almost at the point of death,
and then he was dragged to the boat to be deported.
lt is hard to be torn out of the soil one has rooted in for over thirty years, and to leave
the labors of a life-time behind. Yet l am glad· l face the future, not the past. Already in
1)1¯, at the outbreak of the Revolution, l longed to go to Russia. Shatov, my close friend and
comrade, was about to leave, and l hoped to join him. But the Mooney case and the needs of
the antiwar movement kept me in the United States. Ten came my arrest for opposing the
world slaughter, and my two years’ imprisonment in Atlanta.
But soon l shall be in Russia. What joy to behold the Revolution with my own eyes, to
become part of it, to aid the great people that are transforming the world!
January 5. — Pilot boat! Great rejoicing! Sent wire to our friends in New York to allay
the anxiety they must feel because of our mysterious disappearance.
January 7. — We’re in the North Sea. Clear, quiet, cool. ln the anernoon a bit rolling.
Te singing of the boys reades me from the dec. l hear the strong baritone of Alyosha,
the zapevalo, who begins every stanza, the whole crowd joining in the dorus. Old Rus-
sian folk songs with their mournful refrain, dripping quiet resignation and the suffering of
centuries. Songs palpitating with the frank hatred of the bourzhooi and the militancy of
impending struggle. Churd hymns with their crescendo recitative, paraphrased by revo-
lutionary words. Te soldiers and sailors stand about wrapt in the weird, heart-gripping
melodies. Yesterday l heard our guard absent-mindedly humming Stenka Razin.
We’ve gouen so friendly with our guards now that we do as we please below dec. lt has
become the established rule for soldiers and deportees never to appeal to the officers in the
case of dispute. All sud mauers are referred to me, and my judgment is respected. Berkshire
has repeatedly hinted his displeasure at the influence l have gained. He feels himself entirely
Te sameness of the food is disgusting. Te bread is stale and doughy. We have made
several protests, and at last the dief steward agreed to my proposition to put two men of our
group in darge of the bakery.
January 8. — At andor in the Kiel Canal. leaks in the boiler — repairs begun. Te men
are dafing — the accident may cause mud delay. We’re sic of the journey. lighteen days
at sea already.
Most of the deportees len their money and effects in the United States. Many have bank
deposits whidthey could not drawbecause of the suddenness of their arrest and deportation.
l have prepared a list of the funds and things owned by our group. Te total amounts to over
s.¯,ccc. l turned the list over to Berkshire today, who promised to “auend to the mauer in
Washington.” But few of the boys have any hope of ever receiving their clothes or money.
January 9. — Mud excitement. lor two days we’ve had no fresh air. Orders are not
to permit us on dec as long as we remain in German waters. Tey are afraid we might
communicate with the outside or “jump overboard,” as Berkshire jocosely said. l told him
the only place we want to jump off at is Soviet Russia.
l sent word to the Colonel that the men demand daily exercise. Te atmosphere in the
steerage is beastly· the hatdes are shut, and we are almost suffocating. Berkshire resented
the manner in whid l addressed “the Chief.”
“Te Colonel is the highest authority on the Buford,” he shouted.
Te group of deportees about me grinned in his face. “Berkman is the only ‘Colonel’ we
recognize,” they laughed.
l told Berkshire to repeat our message to the Colonel· we insist on fresh air: in case of
refusal we will go on dec by force. Te men are prepared to carry out their threat.
ln the anernoon the hatdes were opened, and we were permiued on dec. We noticed
that the destroyer Ballard, U.S.S. ze¯, is alongside of us.
January 10. — We are in the Bay, opposite the City of Kiel. On either side of us stretdes
of land with beautiful villas and clean-looking farmhouses, the stillness of death over all.
live years of carnage have len their indelible mark. Te blood has been washed away, but
the hand of destruction is still visible.
Te German Qartermaster came on board. “You are surprised at the stillness`” he said.
“We are being starved to death by the kindly powers that set out to make the world safe for
democracy. We are not yet dead, but we are so faint we cannot cry out.”
January 11. — We got in toud with the German sailors of the Wasserversorger, whid
brought us fresh water. Our bakers gave them food. Trough the port-holes we fired bread
balls, oranges, and potatoes onto, the boat. Her crew piced up the things, and read the notes
hidden in them. One of the messages was a “Greeting of the American Political Deportees
to the Proletariat of Germany.”
Later. — Most of the convoy and several officers are drunk. Te sailors got snapps
from the Germans and have been selling it on board. “long Sam” went “gunning” for his
first lieutenant. Several soldiers called me for a secret confab and proposed that l take darge
of the ship. Tey would arrest their officers, turn the boat over to me, and come with us to
Russia. “Damn the United States Army, we’re with the Bolsheviks!” they shouted.
January 12. — At noon Berkshire called me to the Colonel. Both looked nervous and
worried. Te Colonel regarded me with distrust and hatred. He had been informed that l
was “inciting mutiny” among his men. “You’ve been fraternizing with the soldiers and weak-
ening the discipline,” he said. He declared that guns, ammunition, and officers’ apparel were
missing, and instructed Berkshire to have the effects of the deportees searded. l protested·
the men would not submit to sud an indignity.
Returning belowdecl learned that several soldiers were under arrest for insubordination
and drunkenness. Te guards have been doubled at our door, and the convoy officers are
mud in evidence.
We passed the day in anxious suspense, but no auempt to seard us was made.
January 13. — We got under way again at 1·.c P. M. Making for the Baltic. l wonder
how this leaky boat will navigate the North Sea and fight the ice there. Te boys, including
the soldiers, are very nervous· we are on a dangerous road, full of war mines.
Two of the ship’s crew are in the “cooler” for having overstayed their shore-leave. l
withdrew our men from the bakery in protest against the arrest of the sailors and soldiers.
January 15. — Te z¯th day at sea. We all feel worn out, tired of the long journey. ln
constant fear lest we strike some mine.
Our course has been danged again. Berkshire hinted this morning that conditions at
libau will not permit our going there. l gathered from his talk that the United States Gov-
ernment has so far failed to make arrangements for our landing in any country.
Sailors have overheard the Colonel, the Captain, and Berkshire discussing our going to
linland. Te sdeme is to send me, in company with Berkshire, with a white flag, ¯c miles
inland, to come to some understanding with the authorities about our landing. lf we are
successful, l am to remain there, while Berkshire is to return to our people.
Te deportees are opposed to the plan. linland is dangerous for us — the Mannheimer
reaction is slaughtering the linnish revolutionists. Te men refuse to let me go. “We’ll all go
together, or no one shall,” they declare.
Evening. — Tis anernoon two American press correspondents boarded us, near Hango,
and the Colonel gave them permission to interview me. American Consul from Helsingfors
is also on board with his secretary. He is trying to get power of auorney from the deportees
to collect their money in the United States. Many of the boys are transferring their bank
accounts to relatives.
January 16. — .·z¯ P. M. Readed Hango, linland. Helsingfors inaccessible, they say.
January 17. —landed, z P. M. Sent radios to Tdiderin (Moscow) and Shatov (Petrograd)
notifying them of the arrival of the first group of political deportees from America.
We are to travel in sealed cars through linland to the Russian border. Te Captain of the
Buford allowed us three days’ rations for the journey.
Te leave-taking of the crew and soldiers touded me deeply. Many of them have become
auaded to us, and they have “treated us white,” to use theirown expression. Tey made us
promise to write them from Russia.
January 18. — Crossing snow-clad country. Cars cold, unheated. Te compartments are
loced, with linnish guards on every platform. lven within are the White soldiers, at every
door. Silent, forbidding looking. Tey refuse to enter into conversation.
z P. M. — ln Viborg. We are practically without food. Te linnish soldiers have stolen
most of the products given us by the Buford.
Trough our car windows we noticed a linnish worker standing on the platform and
surreptitiously signaling us with a miniature red flag. We waved recognition. Half an hour
later the doors of our car were unloced, and the workman entered to “fix the lights,” as he
announced. “learful reaction here,” he whispered: “White terror against the workers. We
need the help of revolutionary Russia.”
Wired again today to Tdiderin and Shatov, urging haste in sending a commiuee to meet
the deportees on the Russian border.
January 19. —ln Teryoki, near the border. No reply fromRussia yet. Te linnish military
authorities demand we should cross the frontier at once. We have refused because the Russian
border guard, not informed of our identity, might regard us as invading linns and shoot, thus
giving linland a pretext for war. A sort of armed truce exists now between the two countries,
and feeling is very tense.
Noon. — Te linns are worried about our continued presence. We refuse to leave the
Representatives of the linnish loreign Office agreed to permit a Commiuee of the De-
portees to go to the Russian frontier to explain the situation to the Soviet outpost. Our party
selected threepersons, but the linnish military would consent only to one.
ln company with a linnish Officer, soldier, and interpreter, and trailed by several corre-
spondents (among them, needless to say, an American press man) l advanced to the border,
walking in deep snow through the sparse forest west of the destroyed frontier railroad bridge.
Not without trepidation did we trudge through those white woods, fearing possible auac
from the one side or the other.
Aner a quarter of an hour we readed the border. Opposite us were drawn up the Bolshe-
vik guardstall, strapping fellows in strange fur auire, with a blac-bearded officer in darge.
“Tovarisht!” l shouted in Russian across the frozen creek, “permit speed with you.”
Te officer motioned me to step nearer, his soldiers standing bac as l approaded. ln
a few words l explained the situation to him and our predicament at Tdiderin’s failure to
reply to our repeated radios. He listened imperturbably, then said· “Te Soviet Commiuee
has just arrived.”
lt was happy news. Te linnish authorities consented to permit the Russian Commiuee
to come on linnish soil as far as the train, to meet the deportees. Zorin and leinberg, rep-
resenting the Soviet Government, and Mme. Andreyeva, Gorki’s wife, who came with them
unofficially, accompanied us to the railroad station.
“Koltdak has been arrested and his White Army broken up,” Zorin announced, and the
deportees greeted the news with enthusiastic shouts and hurrahs. Presently arrangements
were completed to transport the men and their luggage to the other side, and at last we
crossed the border of revolutionary Russia.
Chapter 2
On Soviet Soil
January 20, 192O. — late in the anernoon yesterday we touded the soil of Soviet Russia.
Driven out from the United States like criminals, we were received at Belo-Ostrov with
open arms. Te revolutionary hymn, played by the military Red Band, greeted us as we
crossed the frontier. Te hurrahs of the red-capped soldiers, mixed with the deers of the
deportees, edoed through the woods, rolling into the distance like a dallenge of joy and
defiance. With bared head l stood in the presence of the visible symbols of the Revolution
A feeling of solemnity, of awe overwhelmed me. Tus my pious old forefathers must
have felt on first entering the Holy of Holies. A strong desire was upon me to kneel down
and kiss the ground — the ground consecrated by the life-blood of generations of suffering
and martyrdom, consecrated anew by the revolutionists of my own day. Never before, not
even at the first caress of freedomon that glorious May day, 1)ce —aner fourteen years in the
Pennsylvania prison — had l been stirred so profoundly. l longed to embrace humanity, to lay
my heart at its feet, to give my life a thousand times to the service of the Social Revolution.
lt was the most sublime day of my life.
* * *
At Belo-Ostrov a mass meeting was held to welcome us. Te large hall was filled with soldiers
and peasants come to greet their comrades from America. Tey looked at us with large,
wondering eyes, and asked many strange questions. “Are the workers starving in America`
— ls the revolution about to break out` How soon shall we get help for Russia`”
Te crowded place was heavy with the human smell and the fumes of tobacco. Tere was
mud pushing and jostling, and loud shouting in rough border speed. Darkness had fallen,
but the hall remained unlit. l felt a peculiar sensation in being swayed here and there by the
noisy human billows, without being able to distinguish any faces. Ten the voices and the
motion ceased. My eyes turned toward the platform. lt was lit by a few tallow candles, and

in their dim light l could make out the figures of several women clad in blac. Tey looked
like nuns just out of the cloister, their countenances severe, forbidding. Ten one of them
stepped to the edge of the platform.
“Tovarishti,” she began, and the significant word vibrated through my whole being
with the intensity of the speaker’s ardor. She spoke passionately, vehemently, with a note of
biuer defiance at the antagonistic world at large. She told of the high heroism of the revolu-
tionary people, of their sacrifices and struggles, of the great work still to be done in Russia.
She castigated the crimes of counter-revolutionists, the Allied invasion and murderous bloc-
ade. ln fiery words she forecast the approadof the great world revolution, whidis to destroy
capitalism and the bourgeoisie throughout lurope and America, as Russia has done, and give
the earth and the fullness thereof into the hands of the international proletariat.
Tumultuously the audience applauded. l felt the atmosphere darged with the spirit of
revolutionary struggle, symbolic of the titanic war of two worlds — the new breaking violent
path for itself amid the confusion and daos of conflicting passions. l was conscious of a
world in the making, of the all-uprootingSocial Revolution in action, and myself in the midst
of it.
Zorin followed the woman in blac, welcoming the arrivals in the name of Soviet Russia,
and bespeaking their coöperation in the work of the Revolution. Ten several of the deportees
appeared on the rostrum. Tey were deeply moved by the wonderful reception, they said,
and filled with admiration for the great Russian people, the first to throw off the yoke of
capitalism and establish liberty and brotherhood upon the earth.
l was stirred to the depths of my being, too profoundly for words. Presently l became
aware of people nudging me and whispering, “Speak, Berkman, speak! Answer him!” l had
become absorbed in my emotion and did not listen to the man on the platform. l looked
up. Bianki was speaking, the young Russian of ltalian descent. l stood aghast as his words
slowly carried comprehension to my mind. “We Anardists,” he was saying, “are willing to
work with the Bolsheviki if they will treat us right. But l warn you that we won’t stand for
suppression. lf you auempt it, it will mean war between us.”
l jumped on the platform. “let not this great hour be debased by unworthy thoughts,”
l cried. “lrom now on we are all one — one in the sacred work of the Revolution, one in
its defense, one in our common aim for the freedom and welfare of the people. Socialists or
Anardists — our theoretical differences are len behind. We are all revolutionists now, and
shoulder to shoulder we’ll stand, together to fight and to work for the liberating Revolution.
Comrades, heroes of the great revolutionary struggles of Russia, in the name of the American
deportees l greet you. ln their name l say to you· We’ve come to learn, not to tead. To learn
and to help!”
Te deportees applauded, other speedes followed, and soon the unpleasant Bianki inci-
dent was forgouen. Amid great enthusiasm the meeting closed late in the evening, the whole
audience joining in the singing of the lnternational.
On the way to the station, where a train was waiting to take us to Petrograd, a large box
of American cracers fell off the sleigh. Te accompanying soldiers hungrily pounced upon
it, but when told that the provisions were for the dildren of Petrograd, they immediately
returned the box to us. “Qite right,” they said, “the liule ones need it most.”
Another ovation awaited us in Petrograd, followed by a demonstration to the Tauride
Palace and a large meeting. Ten we marded to the Smolny, where the deportees were
quartered for the night.

Chapter 3
In Petrograd
January 21, 1920. — Te bright winter sun shines upon the broad white bosom of the Neva.
Stately buildings on either side of the river, with the Admiralty rearing its slender peak on
high, foppishly graceful. Majestic edifices as far as the eye can read, the Winter Palace
towering in their midst in cold tranquillity. Te brass rider on the trembling steed is poised
on the rough linnish roc,' about to leap over the tall spire of the Petropavlovskaya guarding
the city of his dream.
lamiliar sight of my youth passed in the Tsar’s capital. But gone are the gilded glory of
the past, the royal splendor, the gay banquets of nobles, and the iron columns of the slavish
military marding to the thunder of drums. Te hand of Revolution has turned the city of
luxurious idleness into the home of labor. Te spirit of revolt has danged even the names of
the streets. Te Nevsky, immortalized by Gogol, Pushkin, and Dostoyevsky, has become the
Prospect of October z¯th: the square in front of the Winter Palace is now named in honor
of Uritsky: the Kamenovstrovsky is called the Red Dawn. At the Duma the heroic bust of
lassale faces the passers-by as the symbol of the NewDay: on the Konoguardeisky Boulevard
stands the statue of Volodarsky, arm outstretded, addressing the people.
Almost every street reminds me of the past struggles. Tere, in front of the Winter Palace,
stood the priest Gapon in the midst of the thousands that had come to beg the “liule lather”
for mercy and bread. Te square ran crimson with the blood of the workers on that fateful
January day in 1)c¯. Out of their graves, a year later, rose the first Revolution, and again
the cries of the oppressed were drowned by the crac of artillery. A reign of terror followed,
and many perished on the scaffold and in the prisons. But again and again rose the specter
of revolt, and at last Tsarism gave way, powerless to defend itself, forsaken by all, regreued
by none. Ten came the great October Revolution and the triumph of the people — and
Petrograd ever in the first line of baule.
* * *
'Statue of Peter the Great
Te city looks deserted. lts population, nearly !,ccc,ccc in 1)1¯, is now reduced to ¯cc,ccc.
War and pestilence have almost decimated Petrograd. ln the fights against Kaledin, Denikin,
Koltdak, and other White forces, the workers of the Red City lost heavily. lts best proletarian
element died for the Revolution.
Te streets are empty: the people are in the factories, at work. On the corner the young
woman militsioner, rifle in hand, walks to and fro, stamping with her booted feet on the
ground to keep warm. Now and then a solitary figure passes, all wrapped up and bent,
dragging a heavy load on a sleigh.
Te stores are closed, their shuuers on. Te signs still hang in their accustomed places —
painted fruit and vegetables advertising the wares no more to be found within. Doors and
windows are loced and barred, and everything is silent about.
Te famous Apraksin Dvor is no more. All the wealth of the country, bought or stolen,
used to be paraded there to tempt the passer-by. High-born barinya and dambermaid, good-
natured blond peasant and sullen Tartar, absent-minded student and crany thief, mingled
here in the free democracy of the market place. All things were to be had in the Dvor:
human bodies were bought and sold, and souls bartered for money.
lt is all danged now. At the entrance of the labor Temple flames the legend· “Who does
not work shall not eat.”
ln the public stolovaya (dining room) vegetable soup and kasha (gruel) are served. Te
diners bring with them their own bread, issued at the distributing points. Te large room is
unheated, and the people sit with their hats and coats on. Tey look cold and pale, pitifully
emaciated. “lf only the blocade were taken off,” my neighbor at the table says, “we might
be saved.”
* * *
Some parts of the city bear evidence of the recent Yudenitd campaign. Here and there are
remnants of barricades, piles of sand bags, and artillery trained upon the railroad station.
Te story of that fight is still on everybody’s lips. “lt was a superhuman effort,” liule Vera
enthusiastically related. “Te enemy was five times our number and at our very gates — on
Krasnaya Gorka — seven miles from the City. Men and women, even dildren, turned out to
build barricades, carry munitions to the fighters, and prepare to defend our homes to the last
hand-to-hand struggle.” Vera is only eighteen, fair and delicate as a lily, but she operated a
madine gun.
“So sure were the Whites of their victory,” Vera continued, “they had already distributed
the ministerial portfolios and appointed the military governor of Petrograd. Yudenitd of-
ficials with their staffs were secretly in the city, waiting only for the triumphant entry of
their Chief. We were in desperate straits: it seemed that all was lost. Our soldiers, reduced
in numbers and exhausted, were disheartened. lt was just then that Bill Shatov rushed to
the scene. He gathered the liule army about him, and addressed them in the name of the
Revolution. His powerful voice readed the furthest lines: his passionate eloquence lit the
embers of revolutionary zeal, inspiring new strength and faith.”
“lorward, boys! lor the Revolution!” Shatov thundered, and like desperate furies the
workers threw themselves upon the Yudenitd army. Te flower of the Petrograd proletariat
perished in that struggle, but the Red City and the Revolution were saved.
With justified pride Shatov showed me the order of the Red Banner pinned on his breast.
“lor Krasnaya Gorka,” he said, with a happy smile.
He has remained the jovial good fellow l knew him in America, made riper and more
earnest by his experience in the Revolution. He has held many important positions, and
has won a reputation as an efficient worker and successful organizer. He has not joined the
Communist Party: on many vital points, he says, he disagrees with the Bolsheviki. He has
remained an Anardist, believing in the ultimate abolition of political government as the only
sure road to individual liberty and general well-being.
“Just now we are passing through the difficult stage of violent social revolution,” Shatov
said. “Several fronts are to be defended, and we need a strong, well-disciplined army. Tere
are counter-revolutionary plots to be guarded against and the Tdeka must keep a watd-
ful eye on the conspirators. Of course, the Bolsheviki have commiued many errors: that’s
because they are human. We live in the period of transition, of mud confusion, constant
danger, and anxiety. lt is the hour of travail, and men are needed to help in the work of
defense and reconstruction. We Anardists should remain true to our ideals, but weshould
not criticize at this time. We must work and help to build.”
* * *
Te Buford deportees are quartered in the Smolny. Zorin’s invitation l am staying at the
Hotel Astoria, now known as the lirst House of the Soviet. Zorin, who was employed in
America as a millman, is now Secretary of the Petrograd Section of the Communist Party,
and the editor of the Krasnaya Gazea, the official daily of the Soviet. He impresses me
as a most devoted Communist and indefatigable worker. His wife, liza, also an American
emigrant, is the typical l.W.W. Tough very feminine in figure, she is rough and ready of
speed, and an enthusiastic Bolshevik.
Together we visited the Smolny. lormerly the exclusive home of high-born young ladies,
it is now the busy seat of the Petrograd Government. Te quarters of the Tird lnternational
are also located here, and the sanctumof Zinoviev, its secretary, a large damber sumptuously
furnished and decorated with poued flowers and plants. On his desk l noticed a leather
portfolio of huge size, the gin of his co-workers.
ln the Smolny dining rooml met a number of prominent Communists and Soviet officials.
Some were in military uniform, others in corduroys and blac student shirts belted at the
waist, the tails on the outside. All looked pale, with sunken eyes and high deek bones, the
result of systematic undernourishment, overwork, and worry.
Te dinner was mud superior to the meals served in the public stolovaya. “Only the
‘responsible workers,’ Communists holding important positions, dine here,” Zorin remarked.
Tere are several gradations of pyo (rations), he explained. Soldiers and sailors receive
one and a half pounds of bread per day: also sugar, salt, tobacco, and meat when possible.
Te factory workers get one pound, while the non-producers — most of them intelligentsia
— receive half a pound and even less. Tere is no discrimination about this system, Zorin
believes: it is just division, according to the value of one’s work.
l remember Vera’s remark. “Russia is very poor,” she said: “but whatever there is, all
should share alike. Tat would be justice, and no one could complain.”
* * *
ln the evening l auended the anniversary celebration of Alexander Herzen. lor the first time
l found myself within the walls of the Tsar’s Palace, whose very mention had filled me with
awe in my dildhood. Never had l dreamed then that the forbidden name of Herzen, the
feared Nihilist and enemy of the Romanovs, would some day be glorified there.
Red flags and bunting decorated the plaform. With interest l read the inscriptions·
“Socialism is the religion of Man:
A religion not of heaven but of the earth.”
“Te reign of the workers and peasants forever.”
A large crimson banner represented a bell (Kolokol), the name of the famous paper pub-
lished by Herzen in exile. On its side was stamped· “1s¯c–1)zc,” and beneath, the words·
“Not in vain have you died:
What you have sown will grow.”
Aner the meeting the audience marded to the home of Herzen, still preserved on the
Nevsky. Te demonstration through the dark streets, lit only by the tordes of the partici-
pants, the strains of revolutionary music and song, the enthusiasm of the men and women
indifferent to the biuer cold — all impressed me deeply. Te moving silhoueues seemed the
shades of the past come to life, the martyrs of Tsardom risen to avenge the injustice of the
How true is the Herzen mouo·
“Not in vain have you died:
What you have sown will grow.”
* * *
Te assembly hall of the Tauride Palace was filled with Soviet deputies and invited guests. A
special session had been called to consider the difficult situation created by the severe winter,
and the growing scarcity of food and fuel.
Row above row stretded before me, occupied by men and women in grimy working
clothes, their faces pale, their bodies emaciated. Here and there were men in peasant garb.
Tey sat quietly, conversing liule, as if exhausted by the day’s toil.
Te military band struc up the lnternational, and the audience rose to their feet. Ten
Zinoviev ascended the platform. Te winter had caused mudsuffering, he said: heavy snow-
fall impedes railroad traffic, and Petrograd is almost isolated. Afurther reduction of the pyo
(ration) has unfortunately become necessary. He expressed confidence that the workers of
Petrograd — the most revolutionary, the advance-guard of Communism — would understand
that the Government is compelled to take this step, and would approve its action.
Te measure is temporary, Zinoviev continued. Te Revolution is adieving success on
all fronts — the glorious Red Army is winning great victories, the White forces will soon be
entirely defeated, the country will get on its feet economically, and the workers will reap the
fruit of their long martyrdom. Te imperialists and capitalists of the whole world are against
Russia, but the proletariat everywhere is with the Revolution. Soon the Social Revolution
will break out in lurope and America — it cannot be far off now, for capitalism is crumbling
to earth everywhere. Ten there will be an end to war and fratricidal bloodshed, and Russia
will receive help from the workers of other countries.
Radek, recently returned from Germany where he was a prisoner, followed Zinoviev. He
gave an interesting account of his experience, lashing the German “social patriots” with bit-
ing sarcasm. A psuedo Socalist Party, he said, now in power, but too cowardly to introduce
Socialism: traitors to the Revolution they are, those Sdeidemanns, Bernsteins, et al., bour-
geois reformists, agents of Allied militarism and international capital. Te only hope is in
the Communist Party of Germany whid is growing by leaps and bounds, and is supported
by the proletariat of Germany. Soon that country will be swept by revolution — not a make-
believe Social Democratic one, but a Communist revolution, sud as that of Russia, and then
the workers of Germany will come to the aid of their brothers in Russia, and the world will
learn what the revolutionary proletariat can accomplish.
Joffe was the next speaker. Of aristocratic appearance, well dressed, his beard neatly
trimmed, he seemed strangely out of place in the assembly of ill-clad workers. As Chairman
of the Peace Commiuee he reported on the conditions of the treaty just concluded with latvia,
receiving the applause of the assembly. Te people are evidently eager for peace, whatever
the conditions.
l had hoped to hear the deputies speak, and to learn the views and sentiments of the
masses they represent. But the members of the Soviet took no active part in the proceedings.
Tey listened quietly to the speakers, and voted medanically on the resolutionspresented by
the Presidium. Tere was no discussion: the proceedings laced vitality.
* * *
Some friction has developed among the Buford deportees. Te Anardists complain of dis-
crimination in favor of the Communist members of the group, and l have been repeatedly
called to the Smolny to smooth out difficulties.
Te boys dafe at the delay in assigning them to work. l have prepared the anquees
of the group, classifying the deportees according to trade and ability, to aid in placing them
to best advantage. But two weeks have passed, and the men are still haunting the Soviet
departments, standing in line by the hour, seeking to be supplied with the necessary propuski
and documents admiuing them to work.
l have pointed out to Zorin what a valuable asset these deportees are to Russia· there are
medanics, miners, printers among them, needed in the present scarcity of skilled labor. Why
waste their time and energy` l cited the mauer of exdanging American currency. Most of the
deportees brought some money with them. Teir pyo is insufficient, but certain necessaries
can be bought· bread, buuer, and tobacco, even meat, are offered on the markets. At least
a hundred of our boys have exdanged their American cash for Soviet money. Considering
that ead one had to find out for himself where the exdange could be made, onen being
directed wrongly, and the time ead had to spend in the Soviet financial departments, it can
be safely assumed that on the average ead man required three hours for the transaction. lf
the deportees had a responsible commiuee, the whole mauer could have been managed in
less than a day. “Sud a commiuee could auend to all their affairs, and save time,” l urged.
Zorin agreed with me. “lt ought to be tried,” he said.
l proposed to go over to the Smolny, call the men together, explain my proposition to
them, and have the commiuee elected. “lt would be well to assign a liule room as the Com-
miuee’s office, with a telephone to transact business,” l suggested.
“You are very American,” Zorin smiled. “You want it done on the spot. But that isn’t the
way,” he added dryly. “l’ll submit your plan to the proper authorities, and then we’ll see.”
“At any rate,” l said, “l hope it can be done soon. And you may always call on me, for l
am anxious, to help.”
“By the way,” Zorin remarked, looking at me quizzically, “trading is forbidden. Buying
and selling is speculation. Your people should not do sud things.” He spoke severely.
“You cannot call buying a pound of bread speculation,” l replied. “Besides, the differ-
ence in the pyo encourages trade. Te Government still issues money — it is legally in
“Y-e-s,” Zorin said, displeased. “But beuer tell your friends not to speculate any more.
Only shkurniki, self-seeking skinners, do that.”
“You are unjust, Zorin. Te Buford men have donated the greater part of their money,
the provisions and medicines they brought, to the dildren of Petrograd. Tey have even
deprived themselves of necessities, and the liule cash they have kept the Government itself
has turned into Soviet money for them.”
“Beuer warn the men,” Zorin repeated.
Chapter 4
February 10, 1920. — Te opportunity to visit the capital came unexpectedly· lansbury and
Barry, of the london Daily Herald, were in Petrograd, and l was asked to accompany them
to Moscow as interpreter. Tough not entirely recovered from my recent illness, l accepted
the rare dance, travel between Petrograd and Moscow being limited to absolute necessity.
Te railroad conditions between the two capitals (both cities are so considered) are de-
plorable. Te engines are old and weak, the road in need of repair. Several times we ran
short of fuel, and our engineer len the train to go off into the woods for a fresh supply of
wood. Some of the passengers accompanied the crew to help with the loading.
Te cars were crowded with soldiers and Soviet officials. During the night many travelers
boarded our train. Tere was mud shouting and cursing, and the plaintive cries of dildren.
Ten sudden silence, and an imperious command, “Get off, you devils. You don’t belong
“Te railroad Tdeka,” the provodnik (car porter) came into the coupé to warn us. “Get
your papers ready, tovarishti.”
A dark, stocy man entered. My eye caught the gleam of a big Colt in his belt, without
holster. Behind him stood two soldiers, with bayoneted rifles. “Your papers!” he demanded.
“lnglish travelers,” l explained, showing our documents.
“Oh, pardon, tovarishti,” — his manner danged instantly, as he caught sight of lans-
bury, wrapped in his great fur coat, tall and side-whiskered, the typical British bourzhooi.
“Pardon,” the Tdekist repeated, and without looking at our documents he stepped into
the next coupé.
We were in the special coad reserved for high Bolshevik officials and foreign guests. lt
was lit by candles, had upholstered coudes, and was comparatively clean. Te rest of the
train consisted of third-class cars, containing double tiers of wooden bendes, and of some
teplushki (freight cars) used for passenger traffic, without light or heat, incredibly crowded
and filthy.
At every station we were besieged by crowds clamoring for admission. “N’yet mesta,
N’yet mesta!” (No room!) the militiamen accompanying the train kept shouting, repeatedly
drawing their guns. l called the auention of the officers to the vacant places in our compart-
ment, but they waved me aside. “Tis not for them,” they said.
Arriving at the Moscow depot we found platform and waiting room a dense mass, almost
everyone with a heavy load on his bac, pushing and shouting, those in front trying to get
past the armed guards at the gates. Te people looked worn and begrimed, most of them
having spent several days at the station, sleeping at night on the floor, and waiting their turn
to be let through.
With difficulty we made our way to the street. Tere scores of women and dildren fell
upon our things, ead trying to drag them to his liule sleigh and assuring us he’ll carry our
effects anywhere for a small price. “A bit of bread, liule father,” the dildren begged: “just a
liule, for Christ’s sake.”
lt was biuerly cold, deep snow on the ground. Te dildren stood shivering, knocing
one foot against the other for warmth. Teir emaciated liule faceswere blue and pinded,
some of the boys barefoot on the frozen steps.
“How starved they look, and how poorly clad,” l remarked.
“No worse than you see at the london stations,” lansbury replied curtly. “You’re hyper-
critical, Berkman.”
ln an automobile of the loreign Office we were driven to a large house, with high iron
fence and guard at the gate, the former residence of Y—, the Sugar King of Russia, now
occupied by Karakhan.
A palatial home, with costly carpets, rare tapestries, and paintings. Te young man who
met us and who introduced himself as Tdiderin’s secretary, assigned lansbury and Barry
to the guest wing. “l regret we have no spare room for you,” he said to me: “we didn’t expect
you. But l shall send you to the Kharitonensky.”
Te lauer proved to be a Soviet guest house, on the street of the same name. lormerly
owned by a German merdant, it is now nationalized and serves to house delegates and
visitors from other parts of the country.
ln the Kharitonensky l was informed that the commandant of the house was absent, and
that nothing could be done without his orders. l waited two hours, and when the comman-
dant finally appeared he said that he had not been notified of my coming, had received no
instructions to prepare a room for me, and that, moreover, no rooms were vacant.
Here was a dilemma. A stranger in a city without hotels or boarding houses, and no
lodgings to be had except by order of one or the other of the Soviet institutions. As l had
not been invited or sent to Moscow by any of its government brandes, l could not count
upon them to secure a room for me. Moscow is fearfully overcrowded, and the multiplying
Government departments constantly need new quarters. Visitors who cannot find a place
onen pass the night at the railroad station, the commandant suggested. l was about to take
the hint, when we were approaded by a man wearing a white fur cap with ear pieces reading
to his knees. A Siberian, l thought, from his dress.
“lf the commandant does not object, perhaps you will share my room till another is
vacant`” he said pleasantly, speaking good lnglish.

Te commandant, having examined my papers, consented, and presently l was installed
in my friend’s large and pleasantly warm room.
He looked at me carefully, then asked·
“Are you from San lrancisco`”
“Yes, l used to live there. Why do you ask`”
“ls your name Berkman`”
“Alexander Berkman`” he persisted.
He embraced me, kissing me thrice in Russian fashion. “Why,” he said, “l know you. l
used to live in lrisco myself. Saw you many a time — at meetings and lectures. Don’t you
remember me` l’m Sergei. l lived on the Russian Hill. No, of course, you wouldn’t remember
me,” he ran on. “Well, l returned to Russia at the outbreak of the lebruary Revolution, by
way of Japan. Been to Siberia, in Sakhalin and the last, and now l have brought our report
to the Party.”
“Are you a Communist`” l inquired.
“A Bolshevik,” he smiled, “though not a Party member. l used to be a len Social Revo-
lutionist, but l’m close to the Communists now, and have been working with them since the
Again he embraced me.
Chapter 5
e Guest House
February 2.5. — life in the Kharitonensky is interesting. lt is an ossobniak (private house),
large and roomy, and contains a number of delegates and guests. At meal time we gather in
the common dining room, furnished in the bourgeois taste of the typical German merdant.
Te house has weathered the Revolution without any dange. Nothing has been touded
in it: even the oil painting of the former owner, life-size, flanked by those of his wife and
dildren, still hangs in its accustomed place. One feels the atmosphere of respectability and
But at meals a different spirit prevails. Te head of the table is occupied by V—, a Red
Army officer in military uniform of lnglish cut. He is the dief of the Ukrainian delegation
come for an important conference to “the center.” A tall, strapping fellow, not over thirty,
of military bearing and commanding manner. He has been in many fights against Kaledin
and Denikin, and was repeatedly wounded. When still an officer in the Tsar’s army he be-
came a revolutionist. later his party, the len Social Revolutionists of the South, joined the
Communists of the Ukraina.
Next to him sits K., blac-haired and blac-bearded, member of the Central Rada when
it was broken up by Skoropadsky with the aid of German bayonets. To his right is another
delegate from the Ukraina, a student with son blac beard, the only one who understands
lnglish. Te editor of the Communist paper of Kiev and two young women are also in this
One of the foreign visitors is “Herman,” a middleaged German grown gray and old in
the revolutionary struggle. He was sent by the minority of the Spartacus Party to enlist the
moral and financial support of the Bolsheviki: but Radek, he complains, refuses to recognize
the rebellious minority. Near Herman sits young l., an American l.W.W., who hoboed his
way to Russia without pass or money. Tere are also several correspondents from Sweden,
Holland, and ltaly, two Japanese, and a Corean Communist who was brought a prisoner from
Siberia because of some peculiar misunderstanding.
Te steaming samovar is on the table, and a buxom young woman is serving us. She is
red-deeked and country-like, but her demeanor is free and unforced, and she uses tovarisht

with an ease indicating a fullgrown sense of equality. lromsnatdes of her conversation with
the diners l gather that she had been working in a shoe factory till she entered the service of
the former owner of the house, before the Revolution, and has remained in the ossobniak aner
it was nationalized. She calls herself a Bolshevik, and speaks familiarly about the proceedings
at the meetings of the women Communist circle, at whid she onen presides.
She seems to personify the great revolutionary upheaval· the master driven from the
house, the servant become the equal of the guests, all tovarishti in a common cause.
Surrogat tea or coffee is served in the morning — one cannot tell the difference. Breakfast
consists of several small slices of blac bread, a bit of buuer and occasionally an auenuated
layer of deese. At dinner we receive a thin soup of fish or vegetables: sometimes there is
also a piece of meat, cooked or fried. Supper is usually the same as breakfast. l always feel
hungry aner meals, but fortunately l still have some American cracers. lveryone watdes
anxiously if there is an unoccupied seat at the table. ln their eyes l read the frank hope that
the missing one may not come· there will be a liule more soup len for the others.
Te Ukrainians bring “private pacages” to the table — dunks of salo (fat) or pork
sausage, wrapped in pieces of paper wriuen on both Sides. Yesterday l casually glanced
at one of these wrappers. lt was a circular leuer of the Tsarist police, descriptive of a man
darged with the murder of his brother. lt was evidently torn out of an office file. Paper is
scarce, and even old newspapers are too valuable to be used as wrappers.
Te Ukrainians never offer their delicacies to their neighbors at table. Today at dinner l
placed my can of condensed milk before the man at my side, but he needed urging before he
dared use some in his coffee. l asked him to pass it around. ln consternation he protested,
“Tovarisht, keep it for yourself, you’ll need it.” All the others declined at first, but their
eyes burned with desire for the “American product.” Te can was emptied quicly amid
the general smacing of lips and words of admiration in Slavic superlatives. “Miraculous,
worshipful,” they cried.
l spend considerable time with the Ukrainians, learning mud about their country, its
history, language, and its long revolutionary struggle. Most of the delegates, though young
in years, are old in the revolutionary movement. Tey worked “underground” under the
Tsar, took part in numerous strikes and uprisings, and fought against the Provisional Gov-
ernment. later, about the end of 1)1¯, when the Rada turned reactionary and made common
cause with Kaledin and Krasnov, the notorious White generals, these delegates helped the
Bolsheviki to fight them. Ten came the German invasion and Hetman Skoropadsky. Again
these men fought the Direktorium and Petlura, its dictator, aner the lauer had upset the
Hetman. linally they joined the Communist Party in waging war against Denikin and his
counter-revolutionary forces.
A long and desperate struggle, full of suffering and misery. Most of them have lost near
and dear ones at the hands of the Whites. Te three brothers of the Rada member perished in
the various fights. Te young wife of the student was outraged and killed by a Denikin officer,
while her husband was awaiting execution. later he succeeded in escaping from prison. He
showed me her picture, standing on the desk in his room. A beautiful, radiant creature. His
eyes grew moist as he narrated the sad story.
Many visitors call on the Ukrainians. Tere is no propusk system in the Kharitonensky,
and people come and go freely. l have made interesting acquaintances, and spent many hours
listening to the Ukrainian delegates exdanging experiences with their Russian friends. Some
days are like a kaleidoscope of the Revolution, every turn tossing up new facets of variegated
hue and brilliancy· stirring incidents of struggle and strife, stories of martyrdom and heroic
exploit. Tey visualize the darkness of the Tsarist dungeons suddenly lit up by the flames
of the lebruary Revolution, and the glorious enthusiasm of the liberation. Surpassing joy
of freedom, and then the sadness of great hopes unfulfilled, and liberty remaining an empty
sound. Again the rising waves of protest: the soldiers fraternizing with the enemy: and then
the great October days that sweep capitalism and the bourgeoisie out of Russia, and usher in
the new world and the new Humanity.
Tese men fill me with wonder and admiration. Common workers and soldiers, but
yesterday mute slaves, they are today the masters of their fate, the rulers of Russia. Tere is
dignity in their bearing, self-reliance and determination — the spirit of assurance that comes
with struggle and the exercise of initiative. Te fires of Revolution have forged new men,
new personalities.
Chapter 6
Tierin and Karakhan
February 24. — lt was ! A. M. ln the loreign Office correspondents were about and visi-
tors come by appointment with Tdiderin. Te People’s Commissar for loreign Affairs has
turned night into day.
l found Tdiderin at a desk in a large, cold office, an old shawl wrapped around his nec.
Almost his first question was “how soon the revolution could be expected in the States.”
When l replied that the American workers were still too mud under the influence of the
reactionary leaders, he called me pessimistic. ln a revolutionary time like the present, he
thought, even the lederation of labor must quicly dange to a more radical auitude. He
was very hopeful of revolutionary developments in lngland and America in the near future.
We discussed the lndustrial Workers of the World, Tdiderin saying that he believed l
exaggerated their importance as the only revolutionary proletarian movement in America.
He considered the Communist Party in that country of far greater influence and significance.
He had recently seen several American Communists, he explained, and they informed him
on the labor and revolutionary situation in the States.
A clerk entered with a typed sheet. Tdiderin scanned it carefully, and began making
corrections. His nec shawl kept sliding down on the paper, and impatiently he would throw
it bac over his shoulder. He read the document again, made more corrections, and looked
displeased. “Terribly confused,” he muuered irritably.
“l’ll have it retyped at once,” the clerk said, picing up the paper.
Tdiderin impatiently snatded it out of his hand, and without another word his lean,
bent figure disappeared through the door. l heard his short, nervous step in the corridor.
“We are used to his ways,” the clerk remarked apologetically.
“l met him on the stairs without hat or coat when l came up,” l said.
“He is all the time between the second and the fourth floor,” the clerk laughed. “He insists
on taking every paper to the radio room himself.”
Tdiderin returned all out of breath, and took up the conversation again. Messengers
and telephone kept interrupting us, Tdiderin personally answering every call. He looked
worried and preoccupied, with difficulty picing up the thread of our talk.
“We must bend every effort toward recognition,” be said presently, “and especially to lin
the blocade.” He hoped mud in that direction from the friendly auitude of the workers
abroad, and he was pleased to hear of the growing sentiment in the United States for the
recall of American troops from Siberia.
“No one wants peace so mud as Russia,” he said emphatically. “lf the Allies would come
to their senses, we would soon enter into commerce with them.
We know that business in lngland and America is eager for sud an opportunity.”
“Te trouble with the Allies,” he continued, “is that they don’t want to realize that we
have the country bac of us. Tey still cling to the hope of some White general rallying the
people to his banner. Avain and stupid hope, for Russia is solidly for the Soviet Government.”
l related to Tdiderin the experience of the Buford deportees on the linnish border,
and repeated to him the request of a certain American correspondent l had met there to be
admiued to Russia.
“He is from a bourgeois newspaper,” Tdiderin remarked, recalling that the man had
been refused a Soviet visa. “On what ground does he apply again`”
“He asked me to tell you that his newspaper was the first in America to take a friendly
auitude to the Bolsheviki.”
Tdiderin became interested, and promised to consider the application.
“l also need some ‘paper’ from you,” l remarked jestingly, explaining that l was probably
the only person in Soviet Russia without “documents,” as l had len Petrograd before they
were issued to the Buford deportees. He laughed at my being “unidentified,” and recalled the
mass meeting of Kronstadt sailors and workers in the Tshinizelli Circus in Petrograd, in 1)1¯,
to protest against my being “identified” with the Mooney case and extradited to California.
He ordered the clerk to prepare a “liule paper” for me, and he signed it, remarking that
there was mud work in the loreign Office, and that he hoped l would help with translations.
When l looked at the document l saw that it referred in very favorable terms to the “well-
known American revolutionist,” but that there was no mention of my being an Anardist.
Was that term avoided purposely, l wondered` What cause would there be for it in Soviet
Russia` l felt as if a veil were stealthily drawn over my personality.
* * *
later in the day l visited Karakhan. Tall, good-looking, and well-groomed, he sat leisurely in
a sumptuous office, his feet resting on a fine tiger skin. His appearance justified the humorous
daracterization l heard of him in the ante-room. “A Bolshevik who can wear white gloves
gracefully,” someone had said.
Karakhan asked me to converse in Russian. “Nature has given me no talent for languages,”
he remarked. We discussed the labor situation abroad, and he expressed himself confident of
the speedy bankruptcy of international capitalism. He was enthusiastic about the “growing
influence of the Communist Party in lngland and America,” and seemed mud displeased
when l pointed out that his optimism was entirely unjustified by the actual state of affairs.
He listened with a smile of well-bred incredulity as l spoke of the reaction following the war
and the persecution of radicalism, in the States. “But the workers of lngland and America,
inspired by the Communists, will presently force their governments to lin the blocade,” he
insisted. l sought to impress him that Russia must make up her mind to rely upon herself for
the reconstruction of her economic life. “Of course, of course,” he assented, but there was no
conviction in his tone.
“Our hope is in the lining of the blocade,” he said again, “and then our industries will
develop quicly. At present we are handicapped by the lac of madinery and skilled labor.”
Referring to the peasantry, Karakhan asserted that the farmer profited by the Revolution
more than any other part of the population. “Why,” he exclaimed, “in the villages you will
find upholstered furniture, lrend mirrors, graphophones, and pianos, all given to them by
the city in exdange for food. Te luxuries of the mansion have been transferred to the hovel,”
he laughed, pleased with his bon mot and gracefully stroking his well-trimmed blac beard.
“We have declared ‘war to the palaces, peace to the huts’,” he continued, “and the muzhik
lives like a barin (master) now. But the Russian peasant is bacward and deeply imbued
with the peuy bourgeois spirit of ownership. Te kulaki (well-to-do peasants) onen refuse
to contribute of their surplus, but the Army and the city proletariat must be fed, of course.
We have therefore been compelled to resort to the razvyorstka (requisition) — an unpleasant
system, forced upon us by the Allied blocade. Te peasants must do their share to sustain
the soldiers and the workers who are the vanguard of the Revolution, and on the whole they
do so. Occasionally the muzhiki resist requisition, and in sud cases the military is called
upon. Unfortunate occurrences, but not very frequent. Tey usually happen in the Ukraina,
our ridest wheat and corn region — the peasants are mostly kulaki there.”
Karakhan lit a cigar and continued· “Of course, when requisition is made, the Govern-
ment pays. Tat is, it gives, the peasant its wriuen obligation, as proof of its good faith. Tose
‘papers’ will be honored as soon as civil war is over, and our economic life put in order.”
Te conversation turned to the recent arrests in Moscow in connection with a counter-
revolutionary conspiracy unearthed by the Tdeka. “Oh, yes,” Karakhan smiled, “they are still
plouing.” He grew thoughtful for a moment, then added· “We abolished capital punishment,
but in certain cases exceptions have to be made.”
He leaned comfortably bac in his armdair and continued·
“One mustn’t be sentimental. l remember how hard it was for me, way bac in 1)1¯,
when l myself had to arrest my former college dums. Yes, with my own hands” — he held
out both hands, white and well-cared for — “but what will you` Te Revolution imposes
stern duties upon us. We mustn’t be sentimental,” he repeated.
Te subject danged to lndia, Karakhan remarking that a delegate had just arrived from
that country. Te movement there was revolutionary, though of nationalistic daracter, he
thought, and could be exploited to keep lngland in dec. learning that while in California l
was in toud with Hindu revolutionists and Anardists of the Hindustan Gadar organization,
he suggested the advisability of geuing in communication with them. l promised to look
aner the mauer.
Chapter 7
e Market
l like the feel of the hard snow singing under my feet. Te streets are alive with people —
a striking contrast to Petrograd, whid gave me the impression of a graveyard. Te narrow
sidewalks are crooked and slippery, and everybody walks in the middle of the street. Rarely
does a street-car pass, though an auto creaks by occasionally. Te people are beuer dressed
than in Petrograd and do not look so pale and exhausted. More soldiers are about and persons
clad in leather. Tdeka men, l am told. Almost everybody carries a bundle on his bac or
pulls a liule sleigh loaded with a bag of potatoes dripping a blacish fluid. Tey walk with a
preoccupied air and roughly push their way ahead.
Turning the corner into the Miasnitskaya Street, l noticed a large yellow poster on the
wall. My eye caught the word Prikaz in big red leuers. Prikaz — order — instinctively the
expression associated itself in my mind with the old régime. Te poster was couded in the
familiar style, “l command,” “l order,” repeating themselves with the frequency usual in the
old police proclamations. “l command the citizens of Moscow,” l read. Citizens` l sought
the date. lt was marked January 1¯, 1)zc, and was signed by the Commissar of Militia. Te
Prikaz vividly recalled the gendarmes and the Cossac order of things, and l resented it. Te
Revolution should find another language, l thought.
l passed the Red Square where the heroes of the Revolution are buried along the Kremlin
wall. Tousands of others, as devoted and heroic, lie in unknown graves throughout the
country and on the fronts. A new world is not born without pain. Mud hunger and misery
Russia is suffering still, the heritage of the past whid the Revolution has come to abolish
On the wall of the old Duma, near the lverskaya Gate, l read the legend cut into the stone·
“Religion is opium for the people.” But in the dapel nearby services were being held and the
place was crowded. Te cassoced priest, long hair down his bac, was musically reciting the
Greek-Catholic litany. Te worshipers, mostly women, knelt on the cold floor, continuously
crossing themselves. Several men, shabbily dressed and carrying portfolios, came in quietly,
bowed low and crossed themselves reverently.
A liule further l came upon a market place, the historic Okhotny Ryad, opposite the
Hotel National. Rows of liule stalls on one side, the more pretentious stores on the other, the
sidewalk between them—it has all remained as in the time past. lish and buuer were offered,
bread and eggs, meat, candy, and cosmetics — a living page from the life the Revolution has
abolished. An old lady with finely diseled features, in a thread-bare coat, stood quietly
holding a Japanese vase. Near her was another woman, younger and intellectual looking,
with a basket containing crystal wine glasses of rare workmanship. On the corner liule boys
and girls were selling cigareues and lepyoshki, a kind of potato pancake, and further l saw a
crowd surrounding an old woman busily dishing out tshti (cabbage soup).
“Afiver, a fiver!” she cried in a hoarse, craced voice. “Delicious tshti, only five kopeks!”
Te steaming pot breathed an appetizing odor. “Give me a plate,” l said, handing the
woman a rouble.
“God be with you, liule uncle,” she eyed me suspiciously, “a fiver it costs, five kopeks.”
“Here’s a whole rouble,” l replied.
Te crowd laughed good-humoredly. “She means five roubles,” someone explained, “a
rouble is only a kopec.”
“lt ain’t worth that, either,” a liule urdin dimed in.
Te hot liquid sent a pleasing warmth through my body, but the taste of voblia (fish) was
insufferable. l made a motion to return the dish.
“Please permit me,” a man at my elbow addressed me. He was of middle age, evidently
of the intelligentsia, and spoke in accents of the cultured Russian. His shiny dark eyes lit up
features of a sicly pallor. “Your permission,” he repeated, indicating the dish.
l handed himthe plate. Avidly, like a starved man, he swallowed the hot tshti, gleaning
the last shred of cabbage. Ten he thanked me profusely.
l noticed a thic volume under his arm. “Bought it here`” l asked.
“Ah, no, howis it possible! l have been trying to sell it since morning. l’ma civil engineer,
and this is one of my last,” he paued the book affectionately. “But excuse me, l must hurry
to the store before it is too late. Tey haven’t given any bread out for two days. lxtremely
obliged to you.”
l felt a tug at my elbow. “Buy some cigareues, liule uncle,” — a young girl, extremely
emaciated, held her hand out to me. Her fingers, stiff with cold, were insecurely clutding
the cigareues lying loose in her palm. She was without hat or coat, an old shawl wrapped
tightly about her slender form.
“Buy, barin,” she pleaded in a thin voice.
“What barin,” a girl nearby resented. “No more barin (master), we’re all tovarishti
now. Don’t you know,” she gently dided.
She was comely, not over seventeen, her red lips strongly contrasting with the paleness
of her face. Her voice was son and musical, her speed pleasing.
lor a moment her eyes were full upon me, then she motioned me aside.
“Buy me a liule white bread,” she said modestly, yet not in the least shamefaced: “for my
sic mother.”
“You don’t work`” l asked.
“Don’t work!” she exclaimed, with a toud of resentment. “l’m typing in the sovnarkhoz,
but we get only one-half pound of bread now, and liule of anything else.”
“Oblava! (raid) militsioneri! ” Tere were loud cries and shouts, and l heard the clanking
of sabres. Te market was surrounded by armed men.
Te people were terror-stricen. Some sought to escape, but the military circle was com-
plete: no one was permiued to leave without showing his papers. Te soldiers were gruff and
imperious, swearing coarse oaths and treating the crowd with roughness.
A militsioner had kiced over the tshti pot, and was dragging the old woman by the
arm. “let me get my pot, liule father, my pot,” she pleaded.
“We’ll show you pots, you cursed speculator,” the man threatened, pulling her along.
“Don’t maltreat the woman,” l protested.
“Who are you` How dare you interfere!” a man in a leather cap shouted at me. “Your
l produced my identification document. Te Tdekist glanced at it, and his eye quicly
caught the stamp of the loreign Office and Tdiderin’s signature. His manner danged.
“Pardon me,” he said. “Pass the foreign tovarisht,” he ordered the soldiers.
On the street the militsioneri! were leading off their prisoners. lront and rear marded
the soldiers with bayoneted rifles held horizontally, ready for action. On either flank were
Tdeka men, their revolvers pointed at the bacs of the prisoners. l caught sight of the tshti
woman and the tall engineer, the thic volume still under his arm: l saw the aristocratic
oldlady in the rear, the two girls l had spoken to, and several boys, some of them barefoot.
l turned toward the market. Broken dina and torn lace liuered the ground: cigareues
and lepyoshki lay in the snow, stamped down by dirty boots, and dogs rapaciously fought for
the bits of food. Children and women cowered in the doorways on the opposite side, their
eyes following the soldiers len on guard at the market. Te booty taken from the traders was
being piled on a cart by Tdekists.
l looked at the stores. Tey remained open: they had not been raided.
* * *
ln the evening l dined at the Hotel National with several Communist friends who had known
me in America. l used the occasion to call their auention to the scene l had witnessed on the
market place. lnstead of being indignant, as l expected, they dided me for my “sentimental-
ity.” No mercy should be shown the speculators, they said. Trade must be rooted out· buying
and selling cultivates peuy middle-class psydology. lt should be suppressed.
“Do you call those barefoot boys and old women speculators`” l protested.
“Te worst kind,” replied R., formerly member of the Socialist labor Party of America.
“Tey live beuer than we do, eat white bread, and have money hidden away.”
“And the stores` Why are they permiued to continue`” l asked.
“We closed most of them,” put in K., Commissar of a Soviet House. “Soon there will not
be any of them len open.”

“listen, Berkman,” said D., an influential leader of the labor unions, in a leather coat, “you
don’t know those ‘poor old men and women,’ as you call them. By day they sell lepyoshki,
but at night they deal in diamonds, and valuta. lvery time their homes are searded we find
valuables and money. Believe me, l know what l’m talking about. l have had darge of sud
searding parties myself.”
He looked severely at me, then continued· “l tell you, those, people are inveterate spec-
ulators, and there is no way of stopping them. Te best thing is to put them to the wall,
razstrelyat — shoot them,” he raised his voice in growing irritation.
“Not seriously`” l protested.
“No` lh`” he shouted in a rage. “We’re doing it every day.”
“But capital punishment is abolished.”
“lt’s rarely resorted to now,” R. tried to smooth mauers, “and that only in the military
Te labor Tdekist eyed me with cold, inimical gaze, “Defending speculation is counter-
revolutionary,” he said, leaving the table.
Chapter 8
In the Moskkommune
Te Commissar of our ossobniak, having to lay in provisions, invited me to accompany him
to the Moskkommune. lt is the great food supply center, a tremendous organization that
feeds Moscow and its environs. lts trains have the right of way on all lines and carry food
from parts as distant as Siberia and Turkestan. Not a pound of flour can be issued by any
of the “stores” — the distributing points scauered throughout the city — without a wriuen
order signed and counter-signed by the various bureaus of the Commune. lrom this center
ead “distributor” receives the amount necessary to supply the demands of the given district,
according to the norm allowed on the bread and other cards.
Te Moskkommune is the most popular and active institution: it is a beehive swarming
with thousands of employees, busy determining the different categories of pyo and issuing
“authorizations.” Besides the bread rations, sugar, tea, etc., given to the citizen by the “store”
of his district, he also receives his ration in the institution that employs him. Te pyo differs
according to the “quality” of the citizen and the position he occupies. At present soldiers and
sailors receive z 1/z lbs. of bread per day: Soviet employees ! lbs. every two days: those not
working — because of age, sicness or disability other than military — receive !/. lb. Tere
are special categories of “preferred” pyo; the academical for old scientists and professors
whose merits are recognized by the State, and also for old revolutionists not actively op-
posed to the Communists. Tere are “preferred” pyos in important institutions, sud as the
Komintern (the Tird lnternational), the Narkominodel (loreign Office), Narkomput (Com-
missariat of Railways), Sovnarkhoz (Soviet of Public lconomy), and others. Members of the
Communist Party have the opportunity of receiving extra rations through their Communist
organizations, and preference is given them in the departments issuing clothing. Tere is
also a Sovnarkom pyo, the best to be had, for important Communist officials, Commissars,
their first assistants, and other high-placed functionaries. Te Soviet Houses, where foreign
visitors and influential delegates are quartered, sud as Karakhan’s ossobniak and the Ho-
tel lux, receive, special food supplies. Tese include fats and stardes (buuer, deese, meat,
sugar, candy, etc.), of whid the average citizen receives very liule.
l discussed the mauer with our House Commissar, who is a devoted Party man. “Te

essence of Communism is equality,” l said: “there should be only one kind of pyo, so that
all will share equally.”
“Te Er-Kah-Peh (Communist Party) decided the mauer long ago, and it is right so,” he
“But how can it be right`” l protested. “One person receives a generous pyo, more than
enough to live on: another gets less than enough: a third almost nothing. You have endless
“Well,” he said, “the Red Army men at the front must get more than the city man: they do,
the hardest fighting. Te soldier at home also must be encouraged, as well as the sailor: they
are the bacbone of the Revolution. Ten the responsible officers deserve a liule beuer food.
look how they work, sixteen hours a day and more, giving all their time and energy to the
cause. Te employees of sud important institutions as Narkomput and Narkominodel must
be shown some preference. Besides, a great deal depends on how well a certain institution is
organized. Many of the big ones procure most of their supplies directly from the peasantry,
through special representatives and the cooperatives.
“lf anyone is to receive preference, l think it should be the workers,” l replied. “But they
get almost the worst pyo,”
“What can we do, tovarisht! lf it were not for the cursed Allies and the blocade, we’d
have food enough for all,” he said sadly. “But it won’t last long now. Did you read in the
Izvestia that a revolution is to break out soon in Germany and ltaly` Te proletariat of lurope
will then come to our aid.”
“l doubt it, but let’s hope so. ln the meantime we can’t be siuing and waiting for rev-
olutions to happen somewhere. We must exert our own efforts to put the country on its
Te Commissar’s turn in line came, and he was called into an inner office. We had been
waiting several hours in the corridors of the various bureaus. lt seemed that almost every
door had to be entered before a sufficient number of resolutsyi (endorsements) were secured,
and the final “order” for supplies obtained. Tere was a continuous movement of applicants
and clerks from office to office, everyone scolding and pushing toward the head of the line.
Te waiting men watded closely that no one got ahead of his proper place. lrequently
someone would mard straight to the office door and try to enter, ignoring the queue.
“lnto the line, into the line!” the cry would be raised at once. “Te sly one! Here we’ve
been standing for hours, and he’s just come and wants to enter already.”
“l’m vne oteredi (not to wait in line),” the man would answer disdainfully.
“Show your authorization!”
One aner another came these men and women vne Oteredi, with slips of paper securing
immediate admission, while “the tail” was steadily growing longer. “l’mstanding three hours
already,” an old man complained: “in my bureau people are waiting for me on important
“learn patience, liule father,” a workman replied good-humoredly. “look at me, l’ve
been in line all day yesterday since early morning, and all the time these vne oteredi kept
coming, and it was z P. M. when l got through the door. But the dief there, he looks at the
cloc and says to me, says he, ‘No more today: no orders issued aner z P. M. Come tomorrow.’
‘Have mercy, dear one,’ l plead. ‘l live seven versts away and l got up at five this morning to
come here. Do me the favor, golubtshik, just a stroke of your pen and it’s done.’ ‘Go, go now,’
the cruel one says, ‘l haven’t time. Come tomorrow,’ and he pushed me out of the room.”
“True, true,” a woman bacof himcorroborated, “l was right behind you, and he wouldn’t
let me in either, the hard-hearted one.”
Te Commissar came out of the office. “Ready`” l asked.
“No, not yet,” he smiled wearily. “But you’d beuer go home, or you’ll lose your dinner.”
ln the Kharitonensky Sergei was waiting for me.
“Berkman,” he said, as l entered, “will you let me share your room with you`”
“What do you mean`”
“l’ve been ordered to vacate. My time’s up, they say. But l have nowhere to go. l’ll look
in the morning for another place, but meantime — `”
“You’ll stay with me.”
“But if the House Commissar should object.
“Are you to be driven into the street in this frost` Remain on my responsibility.”
Chapter 9
e Club on the Tverskaya
ln the “Universalist” Club on Tverskaya Street l was surprised to meet a number of the Buford
deportees. Tey had grown tired waiting to be assigned to work in Petrograd, they said, and
had decided to come to Moscow. Tey are quartered in the Tird Soviet House, where they
receive less than a pound of bread and a plate of soup as their daily ration. Teir American
money is spent· the Petrograd authorities had paid them 1s roubles for the dollar, but in
Moscow they learned that the rate is ¯cc. “Robbed by the great revolutionary Government,”
Alyosha, the ship zapevalo, commented biuerly.
“We are selling our last American things,” Vladimir remarked. “lt’s lucy some markets
are open yet.”
“Trading is forbidden,” l warned him.
“lorbidden!” he laughed scornfully. “Only to the peasant women and the kids peddling
cigareues. But look at the stores — if they pay enough gran they can keep open all they
want. You’ve never seen sud corruption: America ain’t in it. Most of the Tdekists are from
the old police and gendarmery, and they gran to the limit. Te militiamen are thieves and
highwaymen that escaped being shot by joining the new police force. l had a few dollars
when l came to Moscow: a Tdekist danged them for me.”
People of every revolutionary tendency gather in the Club· moderate len Social Revo-
lutionists and the more extreme adherents of Spiridonova: Maximalists, lndividualists, and
Anardists of various factions. Tere are old katorzhane among them who had passed years,
in prison and in Siberia under the old regime. liberated by the lebruary Revolution, they
have since participated in all the great struggles. One of the most prominent is Barmash,
who had been sentenced to death by the Tsar, somehow escaped execution, and later played
a prominent role in the events of lebruary and October, 1)1¯. Askarev, for many years active
in the Anardist movement abroad, is now a member of the Moscow Soviet. B— was a labor
deputy in Petrograd during Kerensky’s time. Many others l have met at the “Universalist”
headquarters, men and women grown gray and old in the revolutionary struggle.
Tere is great divergency of opinion in the Club about the daracter and role of the Bol-
sheviki. Some defend the Communist régime as an inevitable stage of the “transitional pe-
riod.” Proletarian dictatorship is necessary to secure the complete triumph of the Revolution.
Te Bolsheviki were compelled to resort to the razvyorstka and confiscation, because the
peasants refused to support the Red Army and the workers. Te Tdeka is needed to suppress
speculation and counter-revolution. But for the constant danger of conspiracies and armed
rebellion, incited by the Allies, the Communists would abolish the severe restrictions and
permit greater liberty.
Te more extreme elements condemn the Bolshevik State as the most unmitigated
tyranny, as a dictatorship over the proletariat. Terrorism and the centralization of power
in the exclusive hands of the Communist Party, they darge, have alienated the masses, lim-
ited revolutionary growth, and paralyzed constructive activity. Tey denounce the Tdeka as
counterrevolutionary, and call the razvyorstka downright robbery, responsible for the mul-
tiplying peasant insurrections.
Bolshevik policies and methods are the inexhaustible subjects of discussion at the Club.
liule groups stand about in animated conversation, and K—, the wellknown former Slüssel-
burgets,' is haranguing some workers and soldiers in the corner. “Te safety of the Revolution
is in the masses being vitally interested in it,” he is saying. “Tere was no counter-revolution
when we had free Soviets: every man stood on guard of the Revolution then, and we needed
no Tdeka. lts terrorism has cowed the workers, and driven the peasantry to revolt.”
“But if the peasants refuse to give us food, how are we going to live`” a soldier demands.
“Te peasants never refused as long as their Soviets could deal directly with the soldiers
and workers,” K— replies. “But the Bolsheviki have taken the power away from the Soviets,
and of course the peasants don’t want their food to go to the Commissars or to the markets
where no worker can afford to buy it. ‘Te Commissars are fat, but the workers starve,’ the
peasants say.”
“Te peasants are up in rebellion in our parts,” a tall man in fur cap puts in. “l’m from
the Ural. Te razvyorstka has taken everything from the farmers there. Tey haven’t even
enough seed len for the next spring sowing. ln one village they refused to give up and killed
a Commissar, and then the punitive expedition came. Tey flogged the peasants, and many
were shot.”
ln the evening l auended the Anardist Conference at the Club. lirst dokladi were read,
reports of activities of an educational and propagandistic daracter: then speedes were de-
livered by Anardists of various sdools, all critical of the existing régime. Some were very
outspoken, in spite of the presence of several “suspicious ones,” Tdekists, evidently. Te
Universalists, a new, distinctively Russian current, took a Center position, not so fully in
accord with the Bolsheviki as the Anardists of the moderate Golos Truda Group, but less
antagonistic than the extreme wing. Te most interesting talk was an impromptu speed by
Rostdin, a popular university lecturer and old Anardist. With biting irony he castigated
the len and Center for their lukewarm, almost antagonistic, auitude to the Bolsheviki. He
eulogized the revolutionary role of the Communist Party, and called lenin the greatest man
of the age. He dwelt on the historic mission of the Bolsheviki, and asserted that they are
'Political imprisoned in the Sdlüsselburg lortress.
directing the Revolution toward the Anardist society, whid will secure full individual lib-
erty and social well-being. “lt is the duty of every Anardist to work whole-heartedly with
the Communists, who are the advance guard of the Revolution,” he declared. “leave your
theories alone, and do practical work for the reconstruction of Russia. Te need is great, and
the Bolsheviki welcome you.”
“He’s a Sovietsky Anardist,” came sarcastically from the audience.
Most of those present resented Rostdin’s auitude, but his appeal stirred me. l felt that
he suggested the only way, under the circumstances, of aiding the Revolution and preparing
the masses for libertarian, nongovernmental Communism.
Te Conference proceeded with the main questions at issue — the growing persecution
of len elements and the multiplying arrests of Anardists. l learned that already in 1)1s the
Bolsheviki had practically declared war against all non-Communist revolutionary bodies.
Te len Social Revolutionists, who had opposed the Brest-litovsk peace and killed Mirbad
in protest, were outlawed, and many of them executed or imprisoned. ln April of that year
Trotsky also ordered the suppression of the Moscow Anardist Club, a powerful organization
whid had its own military units, known as the Blac Guard. Te Anardist headquarters
were auaced without warning by Bolshevik artillery and madine guns, and the Club dis-
solved. Since then persecution of the len parties has continued intermiuently, in spite of
the fact that many of their members are at the front, while others are coöperating with the
Communists in various Government institutions.
“We fought side by side with the Bolsheviki on the barricades,” the Sdlüsselburgets de-
clared: “thousands of our comrades died for the Revolution. Now most of our people are in
prison, and we ourselves live in constant dread of the Tdeka.”
“Rostdin says we ought to be thankful to the Bolsheviki,” someone sneered.
Te Resolution passed by the Conference emphasized its devotion to the Revolution, but
protested against the persecution of len elements, and demanded the legalization of Anar-
dist cultural and educational work.
“lt may seem strange to you that Anardists should apply to the Government to be le-
galized,” the Universalist Askarev said to me. “As a mauer of fact, we do not regard the
Bolsheviki as an ordinary government. Tey are still revolutionary, and we recognize and
give them credit for what they have accomplished. Some of us disagree with them funda-
mentally and disapprove of their methods and tactics, but we can speak to themas comrades.”
l consented to join the Commiuee dosen to present the Resolution of the Conference to
Krestinsky, the secretary of the Central Commiuee of the Communist Party.
* * *
Te ante-roomof Krestinsky’s office was crowded with Communist delegates and commiuees
fromvarious parts of the country. Some of themhad come frompoints as distant as Turkestan
and Siberia, to report to “the center” or have some weighty problemdecided by the Party. Te
delegates, with thic portfolios under their arms, looked conscious of the important missions
entrusted to them. Almost everyone sought a personal interview with lenin, or expected to
make a verbal doklad to the full session of the Central Commiuee. But l understand that
they seldom get further than the secretary’s office.
Almost two hours passed before we were admiued to Krestinsky, who received us in a
business-like, almost brusque, manner. Te secretary of the all-powerful Communist Party
is a man of middle age, short, and of dark complexion, in his whole appearance the typical
Russian intellectual of the pre-Revolution days. He is very near-sighted and nervous, and
speaks in a hasty, abrupt way.
Having explained the purpose of our call, we discussed the resolution of the Conference,
and l expressed my surprise and sorrow at finding Anardists and other len elements im-
prisoned in the Soviet Republic. American radicals would not believe sud a state of affairs
in Russia, l remarked: a friendlier auitude on the part of the Communists, sympathy and
understanding brought to bear on the situation, and the well-disposed len element could be
of the greatest service to our common cause. Some way should be found, l urged, to bridge
the rupture and to bring all revolutionary elements into closer contact and coöperation.
“You think it possible`” Krestinsky asked dryly.
Askarev reminded him of the October days, when the Anardists so effectively aided the
Bolsheviki, and referred to the fact that most of themare still working together with the Com-
munists in various fields of activity, in spite of the suppressive policies of the Government.
Revolutionary ethics demand the liberation of the imprisoned Anardists, he emphasized.
Teyhad been arrested without cause, and no darges have been brought against them.
“lt’s solely a question of serving our purpose,” Krestinsky remarked. “Some of the pris-
oners may be dangerous. Perhaps the Tdeka has something against them.”
“Tey have been in prison for months, yet not a single one of them has been tried or even
received a hearing,” Askarev retorted.
“What guarantee have we that if released they will not continue their opposition to us`”
Krestinsky demanded.
“We claim the right to carry on our educational work unhindered,” Askarev replied.
Krestinsky promised to submit the mauer to the Central Commiuee of the Party, and the
audience was over.
Chapter 10
A Visit to Peter Kropotkin
Kropotkin lives in Dmitrov, a small town sixty versts from Moscow. Owing to the deplorable
railroad conditions, traveling from Petrograd to Dmitrov was not to be thought of. But re-
cently l learned that the Government had made special arrangements to enable lansbury to
visit Kropotkin, and with two other friends l took advantage of the opportunity.
Since my arrival in Russia l have been hearing the most conflicting rumors about Old
Peter. Some claim that he is favorable to the Bolsheviki: others, that he is opposed to them:
it is reported that he is living in satisfactory material circumstances, and again that he is
practically starving. l have been anxious to learn the truth of the mauer and to meet my
old teader personally. ln the years past l had had a sporadic correspondence with him, but
we never met. l have admired Kropotkin since my early youth, when l had first heard his
name and become acquainted with his writings. One incident, in particular, had len a deep
impression on me.
lt was about 1s)c, when the Anardist movement was still in its infancy in America. We
were just a handful then, young men and women fired by the enthusiasm of a sublime ideal,
and passionately spreading the new faith among the population of the New York Gheuo.
We held our gatherings in an obscure hall in Ordard Street, but we regarded our work as
highly successful· every week greater numbers auended our meetings, mud interest was
manifested in the revolutionary teadings, and vital questions were discussed late into the
night, with deep conviction and youthful vision. To most of us it then seemed that capitalism
had almost readed the limit of its fiendish possibilities, and that the Social Revolution was
not far off. But there were many difficult questions and knouy problems involved in the
growing movement, whid we ourselves could not solve satisfactorily. We longed to have
our great teader Kropotkin among us, if only for a short visit, to have him clear up many
complex points and to give us the benefit of his intellectual aid and inspiration. And then,
what a stimulus his presence would be for the movement!
We decided to reduce our living expenses to the minimum and devote our earnings, to
defray the expense involved in our invitation to Kropotkin to visit America. lnthusiastically
the mauer was discussed in the group meetings of our most active and devoted comrades: all
were unanimous in the great plan. A long leuer was sent to our teader, asking him to come
for a lecture tour to America and emphasizing our need of him.
His negative reply gave us a shoc· we were so sure of his acceptance, so convinced of
the necessity of his coming. But the admiration we felt for him was even increased when
we learned the motives of his refusal. He would very mud like to come — Kropotkin wrote
— and he deeply appreciated the spirit of our invitation. He hoped to visit the United States
sometime in the future, and it would give him great joy to be among sud good comrades.
But just nowhe could not afford to come at his own expense, and he would not use the money
of the movement even for sud a purpose.
l pondered over his words. His viewpoint was just, l thought, but it could apply only
under ordinary circumstances. His case, however, l considered exceptional, and l deeply re-
greued his decision not to come. But his motives epitomized to me the man and the grandeur
of his nature. l visioned him as my ideal of revolutionist and Anardist.
* * *
Meeting “celebrities” is generally disappointing· rarely does reality tally with the picture of
our imagination. But it was not so in the case of Kropotkin: both physically and spiritually he
corresponds almost exactly to the mental portrait l had made of him. He looks remarkably
like his photographs, with his kindly eyes, sweet smile, and generous beard. lvery time
Kropotkin entered the room it seemed to light up by his presence. Te stamp of the idealist
is so strikingly upon him, the spirituality of his personality can almost be sensed. But l was
shoced at the sight of his emaciation and feebleness.
Kropotkin receives the academic pyo whidis considerably beuer than the ration issued
to the ordinary citizen. But it is far from sufficient to support life, and it has been a struggle
to keep the wolf from the door. Te question of fuel and lighting is also a mauer of constant
worry. Te winters are severe, and wood very scarce: kerosene is difficult to procure, and it
is considered a luxury to burn more than one lamp at a time. Tis lac is particularly felt by
Kropotkin: it greatly handicaps his literary labors.
Several times the Kropotkin family had been dispossessed of their home in Moscow,
their quarters being requisitioned for government purposes. Ten they decided to move to
Dmitrov. lt is only about half a hundred versts fromthe capital, but it might as well be a thou-
sand miles away, so completely is Kropotkin isolated. His friends can rarely visit him: news
from the Western world, scientific works, or foreign publications are unauainable. Naturally
Kropotkin feels deeply the lac of intellectual companionship and mental relaxation.
l was eager to learn his views on the situation in Russia, but l soon realized that Peter
did not feel free to express himself in the presence of the lnglish visitors. Te conversation
was therefore of a general daracter. But one of his remarks was very significant, and gave
me the key to his auitude. “Tey have shown,” he said, referring to the Bolsheviki, “how
the Revolution is not to be made.” l knew, of course, that as an Anardist Kropotkin would

not accept any Government position, but l wanted to learn why he is not participating in the
economic up-building of Russia. Tough old and physically weak, his advice and suggestions
would be most valuable to the Revolution, and his influence of great advantage and encour-
agement to the Anardist movement. Above all, l was interested to hear his positive ideas on
the conduct of the Revolution. What l have heard so far from the revolutionary opposition
is mostly critical, lacing helpful constructiveness.
Te evening passed in desultory talk about the activities on the front, the crime of the
Allied blocade in refusing even medicine to the sic, and the spread of disease resulting from
lac of food and unhygienic conditions. Kropotkin looked tired, apparently exhausted by the
mere presence of visitors. He is old and weak: l fear he may not live mud longer under
present conditions. He is evidently undernourished, though he said that the Anardists of
the Ukraina have been trying to make his life easier by supplying him with flour and other
products. Makhno, also, when still friendly with the Bolsheviki, had sent him provisions.
We len early, spending the night in the train whid did not start till morning for lac of
an engine. Arriving in Moscow about noon, we found the station swarming with men and
women loaded with bundles and waiting for an opportunity to get out of the hungry city.
Scores of liule dildren were about, clad in rags and begging bread.
“How pinded and frozen they look,” l remarked to my companions.
“Not so bad as the dildren of Austria,” lansbury returned, drawing his big fur coat closer
about him.
Chapter 11
Bolshevik Activities
Mar 1, 1920. — Te first All-Russian Conference of Cossacs is in session at the labor Tem-
ple. Some interesting faces and picturesque uniforms are there, Caucasian dress is mud in
evidence: camel-hair capes reading to the ground, cartridges across the dest, heavy sheep-
skin caps, red-topped. Several women are among the delegates.
A mixture of uncertain origin, half wild and warlike, these Cossacs of the Don, Ural,
and Kuban were used by the Tsars as a military police force, and were kept loyal by special
privileges. More Asiatic than Russian, almost untouded by civilization, they had nothing in
common with the people and their interests. Stand supporters of the autocracy, they were
the scourge of labor strikes and revolutionary demonstrations, with fiendish brutality sup-
pressing every popular uprising. Unspeakably cruel they were in the days of the Revolution
of 1)c¯.
Now these traditional enemies of the workers and peasants side with the Bolsheviki.
What great dange has taken place in their psydology`
Te delegates l conversed with seemed awed by their new role: the unfamiliar environ-
ment made them timid. Te splendid Temple, formerly the sacred precinct of the nobility, the
grand hall of marble columns, the crimson banners and flaming posters, the portraits of lenin
and Trotsky looming large on the platform, the huge candelabras brilliantly illuminated, all
tremendously impressed the dildren of the wild steppes. Te presence of the many notables
obviously cowed them. Te bright lights, the color and movement of the large gathering were
to them the symbols of the great power of the Bolsheviki, convincing, imposing.
Kamenev was Chairman, and he apparently transacted all the business himself, the Cos-
sacs taking almost no part in the proceedings. Tey kept very quiet, not even conversing
among themselves, as is customary in Russia at sudgatherings. Too well-behaved, l thought.
Now and then a delegate would leave the hall to light a cigareue in the corridor. None dared
to smoke in his seat, till some one on the platform lit a cigareue. lt was the Chairman himself.
A few of the bolder ones presently followed his example, and soon the whole assembly was
Kalinin, President of the R.S.l.S.R., greeted the Conference in the name of the Soviet

Republic. He daracterized the occasion as a great historic event, and prophesied that the
Cossacs, having made common cause with the proletariat and the peasantry, would speed
the triumph of the Revolution. Unimpressive in appearance and lacing personality, he failed
to arouse a response. Te applause was perfunctory.
Kamenev was more effective. He dwelt on the historic bravery of the Cossacs and their
fighting spirit, reminded them of their glorious past services in defense of the country against
foreign enemies, and expressed the assurance that with sud dampions the Revolution was
lenin was expected to auend the opening, but he failed to come, and there was mud
disappointment at his absence. Communists from various parts of the country — from
Turkestan, Azerbeidzhan, Georgia, the lar lastern Republic — and several foreign delegates
addressed the Cossacs, and sought to impress upon them the mighty spread of Bolshevism
throughout the world and the great power of the Communist Party in all the Soviet Republics.
All spoke confidently of the approading world revolution, and the lnternational was struc
up by the Red Band aner every important speaker.
linally a Cossac delegate was called to the platform. He delivered the greetings of his
people and their solemn assurances to “do their duty by the Communist Party.” lt was a set
speed, pale and spiritless. Other delegates followed with eulogies of lenin that sounded like
the traditional addresses presented to the Tsar Of All the Russias by his most loyal subjects.
Te Communist notables on the rostrum led the applause.
Mar 6. — At the first session of the newly elected Moscow Soviet, Kamenev was in
the dair. He reported on the critical food and fuel situation, denounced the Mensheviki and
Social Revolutionists as the counter-revolutionary aids of the Allies, and closed by voicing
his conviction about the near outbreak of the social revolution abroad.
A Menshevik deputy ascended the rostrum and auempted to refute the darges brought
against his party, but the other Soviet members interrupted and hissed so violently he could
not proceed. Communist speakers followed, in essence repeating the words of Kamenev. Te
exhibition of intolerance, so unworthy of a revolutionary assembly, depressed me. l felt that
it grossly offended against the spirit and purpose of the august body, the Moscow Soviet,
whose work should express the best thought and ideas of its members and crystallize them
in effective and wise action.
Aner the close of the Soviet session began the first anniversary meeting of the Tird ln-
ternational, in the Bolshoi Teater. lt was auended by practically the same audience, and
Kamenev was again Chairman. lt was a most significant event to me, this gathering of the
proletariat of all countries, in the persons of its delegates, in the capital of the great Revolu-
tion. l saw in it the symbol of the coming daybreak. But the entire absence of enthusiasm
saddened me. Te audience was official and stiff, as if on parade: the proceedings medanical,
lacing all spontaneity. Kamenev, Radek, and other Communists spoke. Radek thundered
against the scoundrelism of the world bourgeoisie, vilified the social patriots of all countries,
and enlarged upon the coming revolutions. His long and tedious speed tired me.
* * *
Many lectures take place in the city, all of them well auended. Te classes of lunatdarsky
are especially popular. l admired the simplicity of his manner and the clarity with whid
he treated sud subjects as the origin and development of religion, of social institutions,
art, and music. His large audiences of soldiers and workers seem to feel at home with him,
discussing at ease and asking questions. lunatdarsky answers in a patient, kindly way, with
appreciative understanding of the honest thirst for knowledge whid prompts even the onen
ludicrous queries.
later l visited lunatdarsky at his offices in the Kremlin. He spoke enthusiastically of his
success in eradicating illiteracy, and explained to me the system of education made accessible
to the great proletarian masses. ln the villages also mud work is being done, he said: but the
lacof able and dependable teaders greatly hampers his efforts. lormerly the majority of the
intelligentsia were biuerly opposed to the new régime, and sabotaged the work. Tey hoped
the Communists would not last long. Now they are gradually returning to their professions,
but even in the educational institutions political commissars had to be introduced, as in all
other Soviet organizations. Tey have to guard against sabotage and counter-revolutionary
Te new sdools and universities are training Communist teaders to take the place of
the old pedagogues. Most of the lauer are not in sympathy with the Bolshevik régime and
cling to the former methods of education. lunatdarsky is waging a severe struggle against
the clique that favors the reactionary system and the punishment of bacward dildren.
He introduced me to, Mine. lunatdarskaya, and l passed the greater part of a day with
her, visiting the sdools and colonies in her darge. On the bright side of middle age, she
is energetic, loves her work, and holds modern ideas on education. “Te dildren must be
allowed opportunity for free development,” she emphasized, “and of course we give them the
best we have.”
Te several sdools, we visited were, clean and warm, though l found very few dildren
in them, mostly boys and girls under twelve-years of age. Tey danced and sang for us, and
showed their pen and ink sketdes, some of them very creditable. Te dildren were warmly
dressed and looked clean and well fed.
“Our main handicap is lac of the right teaders,” Mine. lunatdarskaya said. “Tere is
also great scarcity of paper, pencils, and other sdool necessaries. Te blocade prevents our
geuing books and materials from abroad.”
ln one sdool we found a dozen dildren at dinner, and we were invited to partake of the
meal. lt consisted of very palatable kasha and dicen.
“lt is mud worse in some other sdools,” Mine. lunatdarskaya remarked, noticing my
surprise at seeing fowl served. “Tey lac fuel and food. Our sdool is beuer off in this
regard. But mud depends on the management. Tere is bad economy and even stealing in
some institutions.”
“l have seen dildren begging and peddling,” l observed.
“A very unfortunate situation, and a difficult one. Many youngsters refuse to go to sdool
or run away from it.”
“l can’t imagine any dild running away from your sdool to go begging in this cold,” l
“Of course not,” she smiled, “but all sdools are not like mine. Besides, the Russian dil-
dren of today are different from others. Tey are not quite normal — the products, of long
years of war, revolution, and hunger. Te fact is, we have many defectives and mud juvenile
prostitution. Our terrible heritage,” she added sadly.
Te boys and girls crowded about Mine. lunatdarskaya, and seemed happy to be peued
by her. Bending over to kiss one of them, she noticed on the dild’s nec a tiny silver dain
to whid was auaded a cross. “What is it you wear` let me see it, dear,” she said kindly.
Te girl grew shamefaced and hid the cross. Mine. lunatdarskaya did not insist.
Chapter 12
Sights and Views
l walked to the Hotel Savoy to meet a friend whom l expected from Petrograd. Nearing the
Okhotny Ryad l was, surprised to find the raided market in full operation again. All day long
women and dildren are hucstering their wares there, and great crowds are about, trading
and bargaining. One cannot tell buyer from seller. lveryone seems to have something for
sale, and everyone is pricing things. An old Jew is offering to exdange second-hand trousers
for bread: a soldier is trading a newpair of high boots for a watd. Colored kerdiefs and laces,
an antique brass candlestic, kitden utensils, dairs — every imaginable object is collected
there, awaiting a buyer. ln the store windows meat, buuer, fish, and flour, even wheat, are,
exposed for sale. l know that soldiers and sailors sell their surplus, but the quantities to be
seen on the Okhotny, the Sukharevka, and other markets are very large. Could the rumors be
true that trainloads of provisions onen disappear` l have heard it whispered about that some
commissars in darge of food supplies are in league with the traders. But sud commissars
are always Bolsheviki, members of the Party. ls it possible that the Communists themselves,
rob the people· secretly aid speculation while officialy punishing it`
Passing the corner where l fell into the raid last week, l was hailed by a young voice·
“Zdrasmuite, tovarisht! Don’t you know me`”
lt was the girl with the red lips that l had seen arrested.
“You’re quic to recognize me,” l remarked.
“No wonder — those big heavy glasses you wear — l’d know you anywhere. You must
be American, aren’t you`”
“l came from there.”
“Oh, l thought so the first time l spoke to you.”
“Where is the other girl that was selling cigareues`” l inquired.
“Oh, Masha` Tat’s my cousin. She’s sic at home. Came bac sic from the camp.”
“What camp`”
“Te camp for forced labor. Te judge gave her two weeks for speculation.”
“And you`”
“l gave up all the money l had, and they let me go. Tey took my last rouble.”
“Aren’t you afraid you’ll be arrested again`” l asked, glancing at the pacage of cigareues
in her hand.
“What can l do` We’ve sold everything else we had. l must help feed the dildren at
Her big blac eyes looked honest. “l’m going to see a friend,” l said, “but l’ll return in two
hours. Will you wait for me`”
“Of course, tovarisht! ”
ln the Savoy the admission ceremony proved a complicated mauer. l spent half an hour
in line, and when l finally got to the liule window behind whid sat the barishnya, she began
asking about my identity, occupation, place of residence, and the purpose of my visit. Her
supply of questions apparently inexhaustible, l urged speed. “What difference does it make
why l want to see the man`” l remarked: “he’s my friend. lsn’t that enough`”
“Tat’s our orders,” the girl said curtly.
“Stupid orders,” l retorted.
She motioned to the armed guard nearby. “You’ll be sent to the Tdeka if you talk like
that,” she warned me.
“Ne razsuzhdait!” (no argument) the militzioner ordered.
My friend K— came down the stairs, carrying his suitcase. Te Savoy was crowded, and
he was asked to leave, he explained: but he had secured a room in a private house, and he
proceeded there.
We entered a large, beautiful apartment containing fine furniture, dina, and paintings.
One person occupied the five rooms, the smallest of whid, of comfortable size, my friend had
secured by recommendation. “A big speculator with powerful connections,” he remarked.
An appetizing odor of things frying and baking pervaded the house. lrom the adjoining
room the sound of voices readed us, loud and hilarious. l heard the clauer of dishes and
clinking of wine glasses.
“Na vashe zdorovie (your health), Piotr lvanovitd!”
“Na zdorovie! Na zdorovie!” half a dozen voices shouted.
“Did you hear`” my friend whispered, as there came the popping of a cork. “Cham-
Tere was another pop, and then another. Te talking grew louder, the laughter more
boisterous, and then some one began reciting in a hoarse, hiccoughy voice.
“Demian Bedni,” K— exclaimed. “l know his voice well.”
“Demian Bedni, the popular poet the Communist papers eulogize`”
“Te same. Drunk most of the time.”
We went out into the street.
lresh snow had fallen. On the slippery sidewalk people were jostling and pushing about,
walking hunded up to keep out the biuer cold. At the Teatralnaia Square, near the railway
ticet office, dark shadows stood in a long queue, some leaning against the wall, as if asleep.
Te office was closed, but they would remain on the street all night to guard their place in
line, on the dance of securing a ticet.
On the corner stood a liule boy. “Who’ll buy, who’ll buy`” he mumbled medanically,
offering cigareues for sale. An old man of lean, ascetic face, was heavily pulling a small log
tied to his arm with a string. Te wood slid from side to side on the uneven ground, now
striking against the sidewalk, now geuing caught in a hole. Presently the cord broke. With
numbed fingers the man tried to tie the pieces, but the string kept falling from his hands.
People hurried by with rarely a glance at the old figure in the frayed summer coat bending
over his treasure. “May l help you`” l asked. He gave me a suspicious, frightened look,
puuing his foot on the wood. “Have no fear,” l reassured him, as l knoued the string and
stepped bac.
“How can l thank you, dear man, how can l thank you!” he murmured.
Te girl was waiting for me, and l accompanied her home, on the other side of the Moskva
River. Up a dark, crooked stairway that creaked piteously under our feet, she led me to her
room. She lit a spuuering candle, and l gradually began to discern things. Te place was
entirely bare, save for two small cots, the space between them and the opposite wall just big
enough for a person to pass through. Seeing no dair about, l sat down on the bed. Something
moved under the rags that covered it, and l quicly jumped up. “Don’t mind,” the girl said:
“it’s mother and baby brother.” lrom the other bed rose a curly head. “lena, did you bring
me something`” a boyish voice asked.
Te girl took a dunk of blac bread from her coat pocet, broke off a small piece and
gave it to the boy. Mother is paralyzed,” she turned to me, “and Masha is now also sic.” She
pointed to the cot where the curly-headed boy lay. l saw that two were there.
“Does he go to sdool`” l asked, not knowing what else to say.
“No, Yasha can’t go. He has no shoes. Tey’re all in tauers.”
l told her of the fine sdools l had visited in the morning, and of the dicen dinner served
to the dildren. “Oh, yes,” she said biuerly, “they are pokazatelniya (show sdools). What
dance has Yasha to go there` Tere are several like that in the city, and they are warm, and
the dildren well fed. But the others are different. Yasha has frozen his fingers in his sdool.
lt’s beuer at home for him. lt’s not heated here, either: we’ve had no wood all winter. But
he can stay in bed: it’s warmer so.”
l thought of the big apartment l had len an hour before: of the appetizing odors, the
popping of dampagne corks, and Demian Bedni reciting in drunken voice.
“Why so silent`” lena asked. “Tell me, something about America. l have a brother there,
and maybe you know some way l could get to him. We’ve been living like this two years
now. l can’t stand it any longer.”
She sat by me, the picture of despair. “l can’t go on like this,” she repeated. “l can’t steal.
Must l sell my body to live`”
* * *
Mar 5. — My friend Sergei was ordered out of the Kharitonensky and spent two nights
in the street. Today l found him in a small unheated room at the lodgings of the Central
Coöperative Union. He lay in bed, feverish, covered with his Siberian fur. “Malaria,” he
whispered hoarsely, “caught in the taiga (Siberian jungle) hiding from the Whites. l onen get
these relapses.” He had seen no doctor, and received no medical auention.
l discovered the dvornik (house porter) and several girls amusing themselves in the base-
ment kitden. Tey were busy, they said. Nothing could be done, anyway. A special order
must be procured to get a physician, and who’s to auend to that` lt’s no simple mauer.
Teir indifference appalled me. Te Russian, the common man of the people, had never
been callous to misery and misfortune. His sympathies were always with the weak and the
underdog. ln the popular mouth the criminal was “the unfortunate,” and the peasants were
ever responsive to a cry for help. ln Siberia they used to place food outside their huts, in
order that escaped prisoners might appease their hunger.
Starvation and misery seem to have hardened the Russian and stifled his native generos-
ity. Te tears he has shed have dried up the wells of sympathy.
“Te House Commiuee is the one to see to the mauer,” the porter said: “it’s their business,
and they don’t like us folks to interfere.”
He refused to let me use the telephone. “You must ask permission of the house commissar,”
he said.
“Where can l find him`”
“He’ll return in the evening.”
But my American cigareues persuaded him. l telephoned to Karakhan, who promised to
send a physician.
Mar 6. — Mrs. Harrison, my neighbor in the Kharitonensky, accompanied me to
Sergei’s room, taking some of her American delicacies along. She is the correspondent of
the Associated Press, and seems veryclever. Her entry to Russia was adventurous, involving
arrest and difficulties with the Tdeka.
We found Sergei still very ill: no physician had called. Mrs. Harrison promised to send
the woman doctor with whom she shares her room at the ossobniak.
On our return we passed the lubianka, the headquarters of the Tdeka. Groups of people,
mostly women and girls, stood near the big iron gates. Some prisoners were to be led out
for distribution to various camps, and the people hoped to catd a glimpse of arrested friends
and relatives. Suddenly there was a commotion, and frightened cries pierced the air. l saw
leather-coated men rushing into the street toward the liule groups. Revolvers in hand, they
threatened the women, ordering them to “go about their business.” With Mrs. Harrison l
stepped into a hallway, but Tdekists followed us there with drawn guns.
Russia, the Revolution, seemed to disappear. l felt myself in America again, in the midst
of workers auaced by the police. Mrs. Harrison spoke to me, and the sound of lnglish
strengthened the reality of the illusion.
Coarse Russian oaths assailed my ears. Am l in old Russia` l wondered. Te Russia of
the Cossac and the knout`
Chapter 13
Mar 9. — Yesterday lenin sent his auto for me, and l drove to the Kremlin. Times have
danged, indeed· the old stronghold of the Romanovs is nowthe home of “llyitd,”' of Trotsky,
lunatdarsky, and other prominent Communists. Te place is guarded as in the days of the
Tsar: armed soldiers at the gates, at every building and entrance, scrutinize those entering
and carefully examine their “documents.” lxternally everything seems as before, yet l felt
something different in the atmosphere, something symbolic of the great dange that has taken
place. l sensed a newspirit in the bearing and looks of the people, a newwill and huge energy
tumultuously seeking an outlet, yet ineffectively exhausting themselves in a daotic struggle
against multiplying barriers.
like the living sentinels about me, thoughts crowded my mind as the madine sped to-
ward the quarters of the great man of Russia. ln bold relief stood out my experiences in the
country of the Revolution· l saw mud that was wrong and evil, the dangerous tendency to
bureaucracy, the inequality and injustice. But Russia — l am convinced — would outgrow
these evils with the return of a more ordered life, if the Allies would cease their interference
and lin the blocade. Te important thing is, the Revolution has not been merely political,
but deeply social and economical. Some private ownership still exists, it is true, but its extent
is insignificant. As a system, Capitalism has been uprooted — that is the great adievement
of the Revolution. But Russia must learn to work, to apply her energies, to be effective. She
should not wait for miraculous aid from beyond, for revolutions in the West· with her own
strength she must organize her resources, increase production, and satisfy the fundamental
needs of her people. Above all, opportunity to exercise popular initiative and creativeness
will be vitally stimulating.
lenin greeted me warmly. He is below medium height and bald: his narrow blue eyes
have a steady look, a sly twinkle in their corners. Typically the Great Russian in appearance,
he speaks with a peculiar, almost Jewish, accent.
We talked in Russian, lenin asserting that he could read but not speak lnglish, though l
had heard that he conversed with American delegates without an interpreter. l liked his face
'Popular patronymic of lenin.
— it is open and honest, and there is not the least pose about him. His manner is free and
confident: he gave me the impression of a man so convinced of the justice of his cause that
doubt can find no place in his reactions. lf there is any trace of Hamlet in him, it is reduced
to passivity by logic and cold reasoning.
lenin’s strength is intellectual, that of the profound conviction of an unimaginative na-
ture. Trotsky is different. l remember our first meeting in America· it was in New York, in
the days of the Kerensky régime. He impressed me as a daracter strong by nature rather
than by conviction, one who could remain unbending even if he felt himself in the wrong.
Te dictatorship of the proletariat is vital, lenin emphasized. lt is the sine qua non of
the revolutionary period, and must be furthered by all and every means. To my contention
that popular initiative and active interest are essential to the success of the Revolution, he
replied that only the Communist Party could lead Russia out of the daos of conflicting ten-
dencies and interests. liberty, he said, is a luxury not to be permiued at the present stage of
development. When the Revolution is out of danger, external and domestic, then free speed
might be indulged in. Te current conception of liberty is a bourgeois prejudice, to say the
least. Peuy middle-class ideology confuses revolution with liberty: in reality, the Revolution
is a mauer of securing the supremacy of the proletariat. lts enemies must be crushed, and
all power centralized in the Communist State. ln this process the Government is onen com-
pelled to resort to unpleasant means: but that is the imperative of the situation, from whid
there can be no shrinking. ln the course of time these methods will be abolished, when they
have become unnecessary.
“Te peasant doesn’t like us,” lenin ducled, as if at some pleasantry. “Tey are bac-
ward and strongly imbued with the sense of private ownership. Tat spirit must be discour-
aged and eradicated. Besides, the great majority are illiterate, though we have been making
educational progress in the village. Tey don’t understand us. When we shall be able to
satisfy their demands for farm implements, salt, nails, and other necessaries, then they will
be on our side. More work and greater production — that’s our pressing need.”
Referring to the Resolution of the MoscowAnardists, lenin said that the lxecutive Com-
miuee had discussed the mauer, and would soon take action upon it. “We do not persecute
Anardists of ideas,” he emphasized, “but we will not tolerate armed resistance or agitation
of that daracter.”
l suggested the organization of a bureau for the reception, classification, and distribution
of political exiles expected from America, and lenin approved my plan and welcomed my
services in the work. lmma Goldman had proposed the founding of a league of Russian
lriends of American lreedom to aid the revolutionary movement in America, and thus repay
the debt Russia owed to the American lriends of Russian lreedom, whid in years past had
given great moral and material support to the Russian revolutionary cause. lenin said that
sud a society in Russia should work under the auspices of the Tird lnternational.
Te total impression l carried away was that of a man of clarity of view and set purpose.
Not necessarily a big man, but one of strong mind and unbending will. An unemotional logi-
cian, intellectually flexible and courageous enough to mold his methods to the requirements
of the moment, but always keeping his final objective in clear sight. “A practical idealist”
bent upon the realization of his Communist dream by whatever means, and subordinating to
it every ethical and humanitarian consideration. A man sincerely convinced that evil meth-
ods may serve a good purpose and be justified by it. A Jesuit of the Revolution who would
force mankind to become free in accordance with his interpretation of Marx. ln short, a
thorough-going revolutionist in the sense of Netdayev, one who would sacrifice the greater
part of mankind — if need be — to secure the triumph of the Social Revolution.
A fanatic` Most certainly. What is a fanatic but a man whose faith is impregnable to
doubt` lt is the faith that moves mountains, the faith that accomplishes. Revolutions are not
made by Hamlets. Te traditional “great” man, the “big personality” of current conception,
may give to the world new thoughts, noble vision, inspiration. But the man that “sees every
side” cannot lead, cannot control. He is too conscious of the fallibility of all theories, even of
thought itself, to be a fighter in any cause.
lenin is a fighter — revolutionary leaders must be sud. ln this sense lenin is great —
in his oneness with himself, in his single-mindedness: in his psydic positiveness that is as
self-sacrificial as it is ruthless to others, in the full assurance that only his plan can save
Chapter 14
On the Latvian Border
Petrograd, Mar 15. — l received a message from Tdiderin, informing me that a thousand
American deportees had arrived in libau and were to readRussia on Mardzz. Acommiuee
was to be formed, and arrangements made for their reception.
l had long ago suggested the necessity of a permanent organization for this purpose,
because exiles were expected fromdifferent countries. So far nothing had been done, but now
instructions from Moscow hastened mauers. Mme. Ravitd, Commissar of Public Safety in
the, Petrograd District, called a conference at whid a Deportees’ Commission was decided
upon. l was appointed Chairman of the Reception Commiuee, and on Mard 1) we len
Petrograd for the leuish frontier. Sanitary Train No. s1, splendidly equipped, was placed at
my disposal: two more trains were to follow in case the deportees’ group proved larger than
ln the dining-room, on the first day of our journey, a stranger introduced himself as
“Tovarishtd Karus from Petrograd,” a middle-aged man with yellow face and furtive eyes.
Presently another man joined us, younger and sociable.
“My name is Pashkevitd,” the young man announced. “Tovarishti from America,” he,
continued in an official tone. “l greet you on this mission in the name of the Ispolkom: l am
the representative of the lxecutive Commiuee of the Petrograd Soviet. May our mission be
successful, and the American deportees prove of service to the Revolution.”
He looked around to observe the effect of his words. His eyes rested on me as if ex-
pecting a reply. l presented the other members of our Commiuee, Novikov and Miss lthel
Bernstein, the Ispolkom man acnowledging the introduction with an expansive eten rad
(very pleased), while Karus cliced his heels under the table in military fashion.
“And the other tovarisht?” Novikov asked, looking at the silent Karus.
“Just an observer,” the lauer replied. Te train physician gave us a significant look.
“lt would be interesting to hear our American comrades tell us something about the
United States,” Pashkevitd remarked. “l have also been in America and in lngland,” he
continued, “but it’s many years ago, though l still speak the language. Conditions there
must have greatly danged since then. Will the American workers rise soon in revolution, l
wonder` What is your opinion, Comrade Berkman`”
“Hardly a day passes,” l replied, smiling, “but l am asked that question. l don’t think that
a revolution can be expected so soon in America because — ”
“But in lngland`” he interrupted.
“Nor in lngland, l regret to say. Conditions and the proletarian psydology there seem
to be entirely misunderstood in Russia.”
“You are pessimistic, tovarisht,” Pashkevitd protested. “Te war and our Revolution
must have certainly had a great effect upon the proletariat abroad. We may expect revolutions
there very soon, l am sure: especially in America, where capitalism has developed to the
bursting point. Don’t you think so, Comrade Novikov`” he appealed to my assistant.
“l cannot agree with you, Comrade,” Novikov replied. “l am afraid your hope will not be
realized so soon.”
“How you people talk!” Pashkevitd exclaimed, somewhat irritated. “Hope! lt’s a cer-
tainty. We have faith in the workers. Revolutions abroad will be the salvation of Russia, and
we depend on them.”
“Russia must learn to depend on herself,” l observed. “By our own efforts we must defeat
our enemies and bring economic well-being to the people.”
“As for that, we are doing all that is possible,” Pashkevitd retorted hotly. “We Commu-
nists have the greatest and most difficult task that ever fell to any political party and we have
accomplished wonders. But the cursed Allies will not leave us in peace: and the blocade
is starving us. When l address the workers l always impress upon them the fact that their
brothers abroad are about to come to the aid of Soviet Russia by making a Communist Rev-
olution in their countries. Tat gives the people new courage and strengthens their faith in
our success.”
“But when your promises fail to materialize, the disappointment of the masses will have
a bad effect on the Revolution,” l remarked.
“Tey will materialize, they will,” Pashkevitd insisted.
“l see you comrades will not agree,” Karus spoke for the first time. “Perhaps the American
tovarishti will tell us what they think of our Revolution.” His manner was quiet, but his
look held something insistent in it. later l learned that he was an examining magistrate of
the Petrograd Tdeka.
“We’ve been too short a time in Russia to form an opinion,” l replied.
“But you must have received some impressions,” Karus persisted.
“We have received many impressions. But we have not had time to organize them, so to
speak, to clarify them into a definite view. ls it not also your feeling in the mauer`” l asked,
turning to the other members of the Commiuee.
Tey agreed with me, and Karus did not pursue the subject.
Te country we traveled through was flat and swampy, with scauered villages in the
distance, but no sign of life about. llocs of crows hovered over our train, their shrill cawing
edoing through the woods. We proceeded at a snail’s pace: the road was badly out of repair,
our engine old and weak. lvery few miles we stopped for wood and water, the logs being
passed by the living dain stretding from woodpile to caboose. At the stations we were met
by women and dildren selling milk, deese, and buuer at prices one-third lower than those
in Moscow and Petrograd. But they refused to accept Soviet roubles or Kerenki (Kerensky
money). “Whole izba (house) plastered with them,” an old woman said scornfully: “just
colored paper — what good is it` Give us salt, liule uncle: we can’t live without salt.”
We offered soap — a rare luxury in the cities — to a girl selling rye bread, but she dis-
dainfully declined it. “Can l eat it, what`” she demanded.
“You can wash yourself with it.”
“Tere’s plenty of snow for that.”
“But in the summer`”
“l’ll scrub the dirt off with sand. Ain’t got no use for soap at any time.”
Communication between Petrograd and the Western border is reduced to a minimum.
We met no train in our three days’ journey till we readed Novo-Sokolniki, formerly an im-
portant railroad center. Tere we were joined by two representatives of the Central plenbezh
(Department of War Prisoners). With them was a youngish man dressed from head to foot in
shining blac leather, with a huge nagan (Russian army gun) auaded to his belt by a stout
crimson cord. He introduced himself as “Tovarisht Drozdov of the Veh-Tdeka,” informing
us that he was to examine and photograph the deportees and to detain sud of them as may
appear suspicious. Te train crew regarded the Tdekist with unfriendly eyes. “lrom the
center,” l heard them whisper, distrust and antagonism in their manner.
“You will pardon a small but necessary preliminary,” l said to Drozdov: “as the predsedatel
(dairman) of the Commission l am compelled to fulfill a certain formality and must trouble
you for your identification papers.”
l showed him my credentials, issued by the lxecutive Department of the Petro-Soviet,
whereupon he handed me his documents. Tey were stamped and signed by the All-Russian
Commission Waging War against Counter-Revolution and Speculation (the Veh-Tdeka) and
vested its bearer with exceptional powers.
During the journey l became beuer acquainted with the young Tdekist. He proved of
pleasant disposition, very sociable and an inveterate talker. But coolness developed between
him and Karus. Te lauer also evinced mud antagonism toward the Jewish boys of the
plenbezh, never missing an opportunity to sneer at their organization and even threatening
to arrest them for sabotage.
But whenever Karus was not about, the dining-room of our car was filled with the strong
young voice of Drozdov. His stories dealt mostly with the activities of the Tdeka, sudden
raids, arrests and executions. He impressed me as a convinced and sincere Communist, ready
to lay down his life for the Revolution. But he thought of the lauer as a simple mauer of
extermination, with the Tdeka as the ruthless sword. He had no conception of revolutionary
ethics or spiritual values. lorce and violence were to him the acme of revolutionary activity,
the alpha and omega of the proletarian dictatorship. “Revolution is a prize fight,” he would
say, “either we win or lose. We must destroy every enemy, root every counter-revolutionist
out of his lair. Sentimentalism, bosh! lvery means and method is good to accomplish our
purpose. What’s the use of having a Revolution unless you use your best effort to make a
success of it` Te Revolution would be dead long ago if not for us. Te Tdeka is the very
soul of the Revolution.”
He loved to talk of the methods the Tdeka employs to unearth counter-revolutionary
plots, and he would grow eloquent about the cleverness of some “agents” in trapping spec-
ulators and forcing them to reveal the hiding places of their diamonds and gold: promising
them immunity for “confessing” and then leading them to execution in the company of a be-
trayed wife or brother. With admiration he spoke of the ingenuity of the Tdeka in collaring
the bourzhooi, tricing them into voicing anti-Bolshevik sentiments, and then sending them
to their death. His favorite expression was razstreliat — to shoot summarily: it repeated
itself in every story and was the refrain of every experience. Te non-Communist intelli-
gentsia was especially hateful to him. “Sabotazhniki and counter-revolutionists, all of them,”
he insisted: “they are a menace, and it is a waste of food to feed them. Tey should be shot.”
“You don’t realize what you are saying,” l would protest. “Te stories you tell are enor-
mous, impossible. You’re just romancing.”
“My dear tovarisht,” he would reply condescendingly, “you may be old in the move-
ment, but you are young in Russia. You speak of atrocity, of brutality! Why, man, you don’t
know what a vile enemy we have to deal with. Tose counter-revolutionists would cut our
throats: they’d flood the streets of Moscow with our blood, if they once got the upper hand.
And as for romancing, why, l haven’t told you half the story yet.”
“Tere may be some individuals in the Tdeka guilty of the acts you relate. But l hope
sud methods are not part of the system.”
“Tere is a len element among us that favors even more drastic methods,” Drozdov
“What methods`”
“Torture to extort confessions.”
“You must be crazy, Drozdov.” He laughed boyishly. “lt’s true, though,” he kept repeating.
ln Sebezh our train was held up. We could not proceed further, the authorities informed us,
because of military activities on the border, about twenty-five versts distant.
lt was the zznd of Mard, the day the American deportees were to read the frontier.
lortunately a supply train was leaving for Rozanovskaia, the Russian border town, and sev-
eral members of our group succeeded in catding a teplushka — an old caule car. We were
congratulating ourselves on our good fortune, when suddenly the train began to slow up and
soon came to a halt. lt was too dangerous to advance, the conductor announced. Te train
could go no further, but he had “no objections to our risking our lives” if we could induce
the engineer to take us to the frontier in the tender.
Several soldiers who had come with us fromSebezh were anxious to readtheir regiment,
and together we succeeded in persuading the engine driver to auempt the ten-mile run. My
American cigareues proved the most convincing argument.
“lirst thing we’ll do is to seard and photograph the deportees,” Drozdov began as we
started. He was sure there were spies among them: but they couldn’t fool him, he boasted. ln
a friendly way l suggested the inadvisability of being too hasty· our action would impress the
men unfavorably. Tey are revolutionists: they had defended Russia in America, for whid
they brought down upon themselves the persecution of the government. lt would be stupid
to subject them to insult by searding them the moment they step on Soviet soil. Surely they
expect and are entitled to a different reception, one due to brothers and comrades. “look
here, Drozdov,” l said confidentially, “in Petrograd we have made all preparations to take the
deportees enquetes, photograph and examine them. lt would be useless work to do it here:
there are no proper facilities for it, either. l think you can entrust the mauer to me, as the
Chairman of the Reception Commission of the Petro-Soviet.”
Drozdov hesitated. “But l have orders,” he said.
“Your orders will be carried out, of course,” l assured him. “But it will be done in Petrograd
instead of on the border, in the open field. You understand yourself that it is the more practical
“What you say is reasonable,” he admiued. “l would agree on one condition. You must
immediately supply the Veh-Tdeka with complete sets of the men’s photographs.”
Half frozen by the long ride on the tender, we at last readed Rosanovskaia. Trough
deep snow we waded till we came to the Siniukha, the liule creek whid divides latvia from
Soviet Russia. Groups of soldiers stood on either side of the border, and l saw a big crowd
of men in civilian dress crossing the ice toward us. l rejoiced that we arrived just in time to
meet the deportees.
“Hello, comrades!” l greeted them in lnglish. “Welcome to Soviet Russia.”
Tere was no response.
“How do you do, comrades!” l called louder. To my unspeakable astonishment the men
remained silent.
Te arrivals proved to be Russian soldiers taken prisoners by Germany on the Polish
front in 1)1e. Badly treated and insufficiently fed, they had escaped to Denmark, where
they were interned until arrangements were made for their return home. Tey had sent
a radio to Tdiderin, and it was probably owing to their message being misread that the
misundertanding as to their identity resulted.
Two British army officers accompanied the men to the border, and from them l learned
that America had not deported any more radicals since the previous December. But another
group of war prisoners was on the way to Russia, and l decided to await them.
Difficulty arose about the disposition to be made of the war prisoners, aggregating 1,c.!
persons, as we had no means of quartering and feeding sud a large number in Sebezh. l
proposed transporting them to Petrograd· two trains could be used for that purpose, while
l would keep the third for the next group of arrivals who might prove to be the American
political deportees. But my plan was opposed by the local officials and the Bolsheviki who
declared that “without orders fromthe center” nothing could be done. Tdiderin was expect-
ing American deportees, and the Petrograd trains were sent for that purpose, they insisted.
Te war prisoners would have to wait till instructions for their disposition were received
from Moscow.
All my arguments received the same imperturbable, daracteristically Russian, reply·
“Nitevo ne podelayesh!” (lt can’t be helped!)
“But we can’t have the men starve to death on the border,” l appealed to the station master.
“My orders are to return the trains to Petrograd with the American deportees,” he said.
“What if they come and the trains are gone` l’ll be shot for sabotage. No, golubtik, nitevo
ne podelayesh.”
Urgent telegrams sent to Tdiderin and to Petrograd remained unanswered. Te long
distance telephone worked badly and failed to connect with the loreign Office.
ln the anernoon a military detadment arrived at the station, rough-looking border men
with rifles across the saddle, and huge revolvers in home-made wooden holsters dangling
from their belts. Teir leader announced himself as Prehde, Chief of the Ossobiy Otdel of the
.sth Division of the 1¯th Army — the dreaded military Tdeka of the war zone. He came to
arrest two of the war prisoners as “Allied spies,” he said, having received information to that
Prehde, a tall, slender young man with student face, proved sociable, and we were soon
engaged in friendly conversation. A leuish revolutionist, he had been condemned to death
by the Tsar, but because of his youth the sentence was commuted to Siberian exile for life.
Te lebruary Revolution freed himand he returned home. “Howtimes dange,” he remarked:
“it’s only a few years ago that l was opposed to capital punishment, and now l myself carry
out death sentences. Nitevo ne podelayesh,” he sighed: “we must stand on guard of the
Revolution. Tere are those two men, for instance. Allied spies, and they must be shot.”
“Are you sure they are spies`” l asked.
“Qite sure. A friendly leu soldier on the other side denounced them to me.” He gave
a liule ducle. “l handed that fellow a thousand Tsarsky roubles for a fine new Browning,”
he continued. “l could have gouen the gun deaper, but l had to reciprocate the favor, you
“Have you any proof that the men are spies`”
“Proof`” he repeated sternly: “they have been denounced to me. We are in the war zone
and we can’t take any dances on innocence.” With a deprecating gesture he added· “Of
course, l’ll examine their documents first.”
He was mud interested in America, where his brother lives, and he eagerly listened to
my description of conditions in the States. His face bore the stolid expression of his race,
but his intelligent eyes blazed with indignation at the story of the persecution of Russians in
America since the Bolshevik Revolution. “Tey’ll soon learn differently,” he kept repeating.
As head of the Ossobiy Otdel, Prehde’s authority is absolute in the district under his
darge, covering 1cs versts of the border. life and death are in his hands, and there is no
appeal from his judgment. With his aid l finally persuaded the railroad authorities to comply
with my directions, and the war prisoners were sent in two trains to Petrograd.
l then wired to Moscow about the disposition made of the returned soldiers, adding that
l shall remain on the border and hold Sanitary Train No. s1 ready for the possible arrival
of American deportees. My dispatd apparently did not arrive, but forty-eight hours later
came a telegram from Tdiderin, instructing me to “send the war prisoners in two trains to
Petrograd” and to “await the American emigrants.”
like most Russian provincial towns, Sebezh lies several miles distant fromthe railroad station.
lt is the county seat, beautifully situated in a valley nestling in the bosom of rolling country
— a pretentious place, with several bric buildings two stories high. Te town has lived in
the shadow of many struggles, their evidence still to be seen on every hand. Shell holes spot
the hills and the fields are cut by barbed wire entanglements. But the city itself has suffered
At the market place l met several members of our medical staff and train crew, Karus
among them, all looking for provisions to take bac to Petrograd. But the stores were closed
and the market empty: trade was apparently entirely suppressed in the liule town. Te
strangers standing about auracted auention, and soon a liule crowd gathered about us —
elderly men and women, with a generous sprinkling of dark-skinned dildren. Tey kept at a
distance, gazing at us with timid eyes· the arrival of so many “outsiders” might portend evil.
l glanced at Karus, and l was relieved to notice that his revolver was not in evidence.
We began to make, inquiries· could bread be bought, perhaps a liule white flour, buuer,
eggs, or anything in the way of food`
Te men shook their heads with a sad smile: the women spread out their arms in distress.
“Good people,” they said, “we have nothing at all: and trade was forbidden long ago.”
“How do you live here`” l asked.
“How should we live` We live!” a young peasant answered enigmatically.
“Are you not from foreign parts`” a man addressed me with a pronounced Jewish accent.
“l came from America.”
“Oh, from America!” Wonderment and wistfulness were in his voice. “listen, dildren,”
he turned to the people nearby. “Tis man came all the way from America.”
lager faces were about me. “How is it in America` Do they live well there` Maybe you
know my brother`” All spoke at once, ead trying to, secure my auention.
Teir hunger for news of America was pathetic, their conception of the country infantile.
Surprise and incredulousness were in their eyes on hearing that l had not met their folks “in
Nai Ork.” “Didn’t youhear of my son Moishe,” an old woman persisted: “everyone knows
him there.”
lt was growing dark, and l was about to turn bac to the station when someone brushed
against me. “Come with me, l live nearby,” a young peasant whispered. l followed him as he
crossed the square, strode into a dark, unpaved street, and soon disappeared behind the gate
of a yard.
l joined him, and he paused to assure himself that we were not followed. We entered an
outhouse dimly lit by a kerosene lamp.
“l live in the next village,” the peasant explained, “but when l am in the city l stay here.
Moishe!” he called into the next room, “are you there`”
A middle-aged Jew with flaming red hair and beard stepped toward us. Behind him came
a woman, a peruke (wig) on her head, with two small dildren clinging to her skirts.
Tey greeted me cordially and invited me to a seat in the kitden, large but untidy, where
the whole family gathered. A samovar was on the table, and l was offered a glass of tea,
the housewife apologizing for the absence of sugar. Presently they began questioning me,
diplomatically at first, hinting about the strangeness of so many people “from the center”
coming to a provincial town like Sebezh. Tey spoke casually, as if not really interested, but
l felt them scrutinizing me. At last they seemed satisfied that l was not a Communist or a
Government official, and they grew communicative.
My hostess was frankly critical, referring to the Bolsheviki as “those madmen.” She bit-
terly resented the quartering of soldiers in her house· her oldest boy had to share his bed
with one of the goyim (gentiles): they made all her dishes treif (unclean) and she was being
crowded out of her own home. How could she live and feed her family` lt was actual starva-
tion: “the evil ones” had taken away everything. “look at this,” she said, pointing to a vacant
place on the wall, “my fine large mirror was there, and they robbed me even of that.”
Te red-bearded Jew sat in silence, with gentle motion lulling one of the dildren to sleep
in his lap. Te young peasant complained of the razsvyorstka, whid had taken everything
from his village: his last horse was gone. Spring was at the door, and how should he plow
or sow with no caule in the whole place` His three brothers were draned, and he remained
alone, a widower, with two small dildren to feed. But for the kindness of his neighbor’s
wife, the liule ones would have perished long ago. “Tere’s mud injustice in the world,”
he sighed, “and peasants are treated badly. What can they do` Tey have no control of
the village Soviet· the kombed (Commiuee of Poverty organized by the Bolsheviki) carries
on with a merciless hand, and the common muzhik is afraid to speak his mind, for he’d be
reported by some Communist and dragged off to prison.”
“Seeing you are not a Communist l can tell you how we suffer,” he continued. “Te
peasants are worse off now than before: they live in constant dread lest a Communist come
and take away their last loaf. Tdekists of the Ossobiy Otdel enter a house and order the
women to put everything on the table, and then they ride away with it. Tey don’t care if
the dildren go hungry. Who would plant under sud masters` But the peasant has learned
something: he must bury in the ground what he wants to save from the robbers.”
Several peasants entered. Tey looked at Moishe in silence, and he nodded reassuringly.
lrom scraps of their conversation l learned that they supplied the Jew with products, he
acting as middleman in the trade. One must be careful not to deal indiscriminately with
strangers, Moishe remarked: some of those he saw in the market looked suspicious. But he
would supply me with provisions, and he named prices mud below those of the Moscow
market· herrings, whid cost 1,ccc roubles in the capital, at .cc: a pound of beans or peas at
1zc: flour, half wheat, at z¯c: eggs at ec roubles apiece.

Te peasants agreed with Moishe that “the times are worse than under the Tsar.” Te
Communists are just robbers, and there is no justice to be had nowadays. Tey fear the
Commissars more than the old tinovniki. Tey resented my question whether they would
prefer the monardy. No, they do not want the pomeshtiki (landlords) again, nor the Tsar,
but they don’t want the Bolsheviki, either.
“We were treated like caule before,” said a flaxen-haired peasant with blue eyes, “and it
was in the name of the liule lather. Now they speak to us in the name of the Party and the
proletariat, but we are treated like caule, the same as before.”
“lenin is a good man,” one of the peasants put in.
“We say nothing against him,” another remarked, “but his Commissars, they are hard and
“God is high above and llytd (lenin) far away,” the blue-eyed peasant said, paraphrasing
a popular old saying.
“But the Bolsheviki gave you the land,” l remonstrated.
He slowly scratded his head and a sly smile came into his eyes. “No, golubtik,” he
replied, “the land we took ourselves. lsn’t it so, liule brothers`” he turned to the others.
“He speaks the truth,” they assented.
“Will it go on like this mud longer`” they asked, as l was departing. “Maybe something
will dange`”
Returning to the station l met the members of our train crew straggling up the hill,
weighted down with sacs of provisions. Te young student of our medical staff carried
a squealing hog. “How happy liule old mother will be,” he said: “this porker will keep the
family alive for a long time.”
“lf they hide it well enough,” someone suggested.
A soldier drove by, and we asked for a ride to the station. Without answering he passed
on. Presently another cart overtook us. We repeated our request. “Why not`” the young
peasant exclaimed deerfully, “jump in, all of you.” He was jolly and talkative, his “soul
ajar,” as the student daracterized him, and his conversation was entertaining. He liked the
Bolsheviki, he said, but he had no use for the Communists. Te Bolsheviki were good men,
friends of the people· they had demanded the land for the farmer and all the power for the
Soviets. But the Communists are bad· they rob and flog the peasants: they have put their
own kind into the Soviets, and a non-Communist has no say there. Te kombed is full of idle
good-for-nothings: they are the bosses of the village, and the peasant who refuses to bow
down before them is “in hard luc.” He had been on the Denikin front and there it was the
same thing· the Communists and Commissars had everything their own way and lorded it
over the draned men. lt was different when the soldiers could speak their minds and decide
everything in their Company Commiuee· that was liberty and everyone felt himself a part
of the Revolution. But now it is all danged. One is afraid to speak honestly — there’s always
a Communist about, and you are in danger of being denounced. Tat’s why be deserted: yes,
deserted twice. He had heard that everything had been taken from his folks on the farm, and
he decided to come home to see if it was true. Well, it was true: worse than what he had been
told. lven his youngest brother, just past sixteen, had been draned into the Army. No one
remained at home but his mother and father, too old to work their piece of land without help,
and all the caule were gone. Te Commissars had len almost no horses in his village and only
one cow to ead family of five persons, and if a peasant had only two liule dildren his last
cow was taken away. He decided to stay and help his folks — it was spring, and planting had
to be done. But he had a narrow escape. One day the whole village was surrounded by the
Commissar and his men. He ran out of his hut and made for the woods. Bad luc, he was
still in his soldier uniform, and they shot at him from all sides. He succeeded in reading
the nearest bushes, but he was exhausted and fell, rolling down the hill into a hollow. His
pursuers must have thought him dead. late in the night he stole bac to the village, but he
did not go to his people: a friendly neighbor hid him in his house. Te next day he put on
peasant clothes, and all spring and summer he helped his “old man” in the fields. Ten he
went bac to the Army of his own accord· he wanted to serve the Revolution as long as the
folks at home did not need him. But he was treated badly, food was scarce in his regiment,
and he deserted again. “l would stay in the Army,” he concluded, “but l can’t see the old
people starve to death.”
“Are you not afraid to talk so freely`” l warned him.
“Oh, who cares!” he laughed. “let ‘em shoot me. Am l a dog to wear a muzzle on my
Tree days later Prelide notified me at Sebezh of the arrival of a new group of emigrants.
Hoping they might be the long expected political deportees from America, l hastened to the
border. To our great disappointment the men proved to be war prisoners returning from
lngland. Tere were 1cs in the group, captured the previous year in the Ardangel district
and still clad in their Red Guard uniforms. Among them were also five Russian workers, who
had for years resided in lngland and who were nowdeported under the Alien Act. Tey were
in civilian auire, and Prehde immediately decided that they were “suspicious,” and ordered
them arrested as British spies. Te deportees took the mauer lightly, not realizing that it
might mean a perfunctory field court-martial and immediate execution.
l had become friendly with Prehde, and grown to like his simplicity and sincerity. lntirely
unsophisticated, he knows no consideration save his duty to the Revolution: his treatment of
alleged counter-revolutionaries is no more severe than his personal asceticism. Te taking of
human life he considers a personal tragedy, a harsh ordeal his conscience is subjected to by
revolutionary exigency. “lt would be treadery to evade it,” he had said to me.
l decided to appeal to him in behalf of the arrested civilians. Tey should be informed of
the suspicion against them, l urged, and be given an opportunity to clear themselves. Prehde
consented to let me talk with the men and promised to be guided by my impressions.
“Just walk a bit with them and examine them,” he directed.
“Out here in the open`” l asked in surprise.
“Certainly. lf they auempt to run, they are guilty. l’m a dead shot.”

Half an hour’s conversation with the “suspects” convinced me of their inoffensiveness.
One of them, a half-wiued young fellow, was deported from lngland as a public nuisance:
another for refusing to pay his wife alimony: the third had been convicted of operating a
gambling resort, and two were radical workingmen arrested at a Bolshevik meeting in ldin-
burgh. Prehde agreed to put them in my care till l returned to Petrograd, where they could
be further examined and proper disposition made of them.
lrom the British officers accompanying the war prisoners l learned that no politicals had
been deported from the United States since the Buford group. Te Major in darge of the
convoy is American born: his assistant, a lieutenant, a Russian Jew from Petrograd. Both
asserted that lurope is tired of war, and they spoke sympathetically of the Soviet Republic.
“lt ought to be given a fair dance,” the Major said.
l wired to Tdiderin about the arrival of the second group and the certainty that no
American deportees are en route. At the same time l informed him that l would use Sanitary
Train s1, the only one remaining on the border, to take the men to Petrograd.
By long distance telephone and by telegram came Tdiderin’s order to “wait till the
loreign Office learns the date of arrival of the American emigrants.” We had already spent
over a week on the border, and our provisions were running low, Petrograd having supplied
us with only three days’ rations. What was to be done with over a hundred men, some of
them ill` leeling certain that Tdiderin was misinformed about the “American emigrants,”
l decided to ignore directions from “the center” and return to Petrograd.
But the local officials resented sud defiance of authority and refused to act, and we were
compelled to remain. Two more days passed, the famished war prisoners grew threatening,
and at last the authorities consented to permit our train to depart.
Returning with Karus and lthel that evening from the village to make final preparations
for leaving, we were surprised not to find our train at the station. lor hours we searded
in every direction till a passing soldier informed us that heavy firing had been heard on the
border, and as a precaution our white-painted train was moved out of range.
Te night was pitd blac. leaving lthel on the station platform l walked along the
railroad trac till l stumbled against a wall of cars. Someone hailed me and l recognized the
voice of Karus. He lit his portable lamp and we tried to enter a car, but the doors were loced
and sealed. Suddenly we felt the air hissing, and bullets began to pelt about us. “Tey are
shooting at my light,” Karus cried, throwing his lamp down. We slowly followed the tracs
till we came to a car emiuing sounds of snoring, and we entered.
Te smell of unclean human bodies hung heavily in the heated air, assailing us with
suffocating force. We felt our way in the darkness along the aisle between double rows of
booted feet when a gruff voice shouted·
“Dezhurney (sentinel), who’s there`”
lrom one of the bendes a soldier rose, fully clad and with gun in hand.
“Who goes there`” he dallenged sleepily.
“How dare you let anyone into this car, you scoundrel, you!” another shouted.
“Tey just came in, tovarisht.”
“You’re a liar, you’ve been sleeping on duty.” A string of curses poured forth upon the
soldier, involving his mother and her alleged lovers in the picturesque vocabulary of the
Russian oath.
Te cursing voice sounded near. l saw a huge red star, five-pointed, with hammer and
sicle in the center, pinned on the man’s breast.
“Get out of here, you devils,” the man shouted, “or l’ll fill you full of lead.”
“lasy, tovarisht,” Karus warned him, “and be a bit more polite.”
“Get out!” the Commissar roared. “You don’t know to whom you’re talking. We’re the
boyevaia (fighting) Tdeka.”
“Tere may be others sud,” Karus replied significantly. “We can’t find our car and we’d
like to pass the night here.”
“But you can’t remain here,” the man remonstrated in a quieter tone, “we may be called
for action any moment.”
“My tovarisht is from the Petro-Soviet,” Karus declared, indicating me: “we can’t re-
main in the open.”
“Well, stay then.” Te Commissar yawned and stretded himself on the bend.
l called lthel into the car. She looked cold and tired, and hardly able to stand. ln the dark
l felt for a vacant place, but everywhere my hands touded human bodies. Te men snored
to various tunes, some cursing in their sleep.
l heard Karus climb up to the second tier and a woman’s angry voice, “Qit your pushing,
devil.” “Make room, you heifer,” came from Karus, “fine fighting men these, with a car full of
ln a corner we found a bend piled with rifles, dishes, and old clothes. No sooner did
we sit down than we became conscious of vermin crawling upon us. “l hope we don’t catd
typhus,” lthel whispered fearfully. ln the distance guns were being fired: now and then shots
sounded nearby. Outside on the tracs two men were quarreling.
“You leave my woman be,” a drunken voice threatened.
“Your woman!” the other sneered. “Why not mine`”
“l’ll show you, you bastard son of your mother’s lovers!” Tere came a dull thud, and all
was quiet again.
lthel shuddered. “lf it were only daylight,” she murmured. Her head fell heavily on my
shoulder and she slept.
* * *
Mar 27. — Arrived in Petrograd today. To my consternation l found the returned war
prisoners still at the railroad station. No steps had been taken to quarter and feed them
because they “were not expected” and no “orders” had yet come from Moscow.
* * *
Chapter 15
Ba in Petrograd
April 2, 1920. — l found Zinoviev very ill: his condition — it is rumored — is due to mistreat-
ment at the hands of workers. Te story goes that several factories had passed resolutions
criticizing the administration for corruption and inefficiency, and that subsequently some of
the men were arrested. When Zinoviev later visited the mill, he was assaulted.
Nothing of sud mauers is to be found in the Pravda or Krasnaya Gazea, the official
dailies. Tey contain liule news of any kind, being almost exclusively devoted to agitation
and to appeals to the people to stand by the Government and the Communist Party in saving
the country from counter-revolution and economic ruin.
Bill Shatov is expected bacfromSiberia. His wife Nunya is in the hospital, at the point of
death, it is feared, and Bill has been wired for. With surprise l have learned that Shatov failed
to reply to our radios or to meet the Buford group at the border because he was forbidden
to do so by “higher authorities.” lt also explains why Zorin pretended that Shatov had gone
last when as a mauer of fact he was still in Petrograd.
lt appears that Bill, in spite of his great services to the Revolution, had fallen into disfavor:
grave darges were made against him, and he was even in danger of his life. lenin saved
Shatov because he was a good organizer and “could still be useful.” Bill was virtually exiled
to Siberia, and it is believed that he will not be permiued to return to Petrograd to see his
dying wife.
Most of the Buford deportees are still idle. Te data l prepared for Zorin, and the plans
l worked out for the employment of the men, have not been acted upon. Te former en-
thusiasm of the boys has turned to discouragement. “Bolshevik red tape,” S— remarked to
me, “is wasting our time and energies. l’ve worn out my last pair of shoes running about
trying to get work. Tey discriminate against the non-Communists. Te Bolsheviki claim
they need good workers, but if you are not a Communist they don’t want you. We’ve been
called counter-revolutionists, and the Chief of the Tdeka has even threatened to send us to
* * *
At the home of my friend M—, on the Vassilevsky Ostrov, l met several men and women,
siuing in their overcoats around the bourzhuika, the liule iron stove whid they kept feeding
with old newspapers and magazines.
“Doesn’t it seem incredible,” the host was saying, “that Petrograd, with great forests in its
vicinity, should freeze for lacof fuel` We’d get the wood if they’d only let us. You remember
those barges on the Neva` Tey had been neglected, and they were falling to pieces. Te
workers of the N— factory wanted to take them apart and use the lumber for fuel. But the
Government refused. ‘We’ll auend to it ourselves,’ they said. Well, what happened` Nothing
was done, of course, and the tide didn’t wait for official routine. Te barges were swept out
to sea and lost.”
“Te Communists won’t stand for independent initiative,” one of the women remarked:
“it’s dangerous for their régime.”
“No, my friends, it’s no use deluding yourselves,” a tall, bearded man retorted. “Russia
is not ripe for Communism. Social revolution is possible only in a country with the highest
industrial development. lt was the greatest crime of the Bolsheviki that they forcibly sus-
pended the Constituent Assembly. Tey usurped governmental power, but the whole coun-
try is against them. What can you expect under sud circumstances` Tey have to resort to
terror to force the people to do their bidding, and of course everything goes to ruin.”
“Tat’s a good Marxist talking,” a len Socialist Revolutionist rejoined, good humoredly:
“but you forget that Russia is an agrarian, not an industrial country, and will always remain
sud. You Social Democrats don’t understand the peasant: the Bolsheviki distrust him and
discriminate against him. Teir proletarian dictatorship is an insult and an injury to the
peasantry. Dictatorship must be that of Toil, to be exercised by the peasants and the workers
together. Without the coöperation of the peasantry the country is doomed.”
“As long as you’ll have dictatorship, you’ll have present conditions,” the Anardist host
replied. “Te centralized State, that is the great evil. lt does not permit the creative impulses
of the people to express themselves. Give the people a dance, let themexercise their initiative
and constructive energies — only that will save the Revolution.”
“You fellows don’t realize the great role the Bolsheviki have played,” a slender, nervous
man spoke up. “Tey have made mistakes, of course, but they were not those of timidity or
cowardice. Tey dispersed the Constituent Assembly` Te more power to them! Tey did
no more than Cromwell did to the long Parliament· they sent the idle talkers away. And,
incidentally, it was an Anardist, Anton Zhelezniakov, on duty that night with his sailors
at the palace, who ordered the Assembly to go home. You talk of violence and terror — do
you imagine a Revolution is a drawing-room affair` Te Revolution must be sustained at all
costs: the more drastic the measures, the more humanitarian in the long run. Te Bolsheviki
are Statists, extreme governmentalists, and their ruthless centralization holds danger. But a
revolutionary period, sud as we are going through, is not possible without dictatorship. lt
is a necessary evil that will be outlived only with the full victory of the Revolution. lf the
len political opponents would join hands with the Bolsheviki and help in the great work, the
evils of the present régime would be mitigated and constructive effort hastened.”
“You’re a Sovietski Anardist,” the others teased him.
* * *
Almost every otvetstvenny (responsible) Communist is gone to Moscow to auend the Ninth
Congress of the Party. Grave questions are at issue, and lenin and Trotsky have sounded
the keynote — militarization of labor. Te papers are filled with the discussion of the pro-
posed introduction of yedinolitiye (one-man industrial management) to take the place of
the present collegiate form. “We must learn from the bourgeoisie,” lenin says, “and use them
for our purposes.”
Among the labor elements there is strong opposition to the new plan, but Trotsky con-
tends that the unions have failed in the management of industry· the proposed system is to
organize production more efficiently. Te labor men, on the contrary, say that the workers
had not been given the opportunity, extreme State centralization having taken over the func-
tions of the unions. yedinolitiye, they claim, means complete darge of factory and shop by
one man, the socalled spets (specialists), to the exclusion of the workers from management.
“Step by step we are losing everything we’ve gained by the Revolution,” a shop
commiuee-man said to me. “Te new plan means the return of the former master. Te
spets is the old bourzhooi, and now he is coming bac to whip us to work again. But last year
lenin himself denounced the plan as counter-revolutionary, when the Mensheviki advocated
it. Tey are still in prison for it.”
Others are less outspoken. Tis morning l met N—, of the Buford group, a man of intel-
lectual auainment and mud political acumen. “What do you think of it`” l asked, anxious
to know his view of the proposed danges.
“l can’t afford the luxury of expressing an opinion,” he replied with a sad smile. “l have
been promised a place on a commission to be sent to lurope. lt’s my only dance of joining
my wife and dildren.”
* * *
April 4. — A beautiful, bright Sunday. ln the morning l auended the burial of Semyon
Voskov, a prominent Communist agitator killed on the front by typhus. l had met him in the
States, and he impressed me as a fine type of revolutionist and enthusiastic devotee of the
Bolsheviki. Now his body lay in state in the Uritsky Palace, and high tribute was paid the
dead as an heroic victim of the Revolution.
Along the Nevsky the funeral procession wended its way to the lield of Mars, marding
to the strains of music and the singing of a doir from Ardangel. Tousands of workers
followed the hearse, line aner line of men and women from shop and factory, tired toilers, in
a spiritless, medanical way. Military salutes were fired at the grave, and eulogies pronounced
by several speakers — rather official, l thought: all too partisan, lacing the warm personal
Te huge demonstration, arranged by the Petrograd Soviet of labor unions within twenty-
four hours, as l was informed, seemed a striking proof of organization. l congratulated the
dief Commiuee man on the quic and efficient work.
“Done without my leaving the office,” he said proudly. “Te Soviet decision was wired
to every mill and factory, ordering ead to send a certain contingent of its employees to the
demonstration. And the thing was ready.”
“lt was not len to the doice of the men`” l asked in surprise.
“Well,” he smiled, “we leave nothing to dance.”
Returning from the Voskov funeral l met another procession. Two men and a woman
walked behind a pushcart on whid stood a rough, unpainted pine coffin, holding the dead
body of their brother. A young girl, leading a liule dild by the hand, was wearily follow-
ing the remains to its last resting place. Tree men on the sidewalk stopped to watd the
tragic sight. Te mourners passed in silence, the picture of misery and friendlessness — blac
cameos sharply etded on the bright day. ln the distance crashed the martial music of the
Bolshevik funeral and long lines of soldiers in parade dress, their bayoneted guns glistening
in the sun, marded to the lield of Mars to pay honor to Voskov, Communist martyr.
* * *
Easter Week. — No newspapers have appeared for several days. Tere have been rumors of
possible excesses by the religious element, but the city is quiet.
At midnight (April 1c) l auended mass at St. lsaac’s Cathedral. Te huge edifice was
cold and vault-like: the deep bass of the priest sounded like a requiem of his faith. Te floc,
mostly men and women of the former middle class, looked depressed, as if by thoughts of a
glory past forever.
Aner services the worshipers formed in procession on the street, thrice circling the Cathe-
dral. Tey walked slowly, in silence, no joy in the traditional greeting, “Christ is risen!” “ln-
deed he is risen,” came spiritlessly in reply. Scauered shots were heard in the distance. Two
women embraced on the steps of the durd and sobbed aloud.
ln the Kazan Cathedral the auendance was predominately proletarian. l felt the same
suppressed atmosphere, as if some vague fear possessed the people. Te procession in the dark
streets was mournful, funereal. Te liule wax candles resembled will-o’-the-wisps blown
about by the breeze, their unsteady flicer faintly suggesting the ikons and banners fluuering
above the heads of the worshipers. laith is still alive, but the power of the Churd is broken.
* * *
Bieland arrived from America bringing the first direct news l have had from the States. Reac-
tion is rampant, he relates: 1cc¯ Americanism is celebrating its bloody victory. Te war-time
laws passed as measures of temporary necessity remain in operation and are applied with
greater severity than before. Te prisons are filled with politicals: most of the active l.W.W.
are in jail, and dran evaders and conscientious objectors are still being arrested. Radicalism
is outlawed: independent opinion a crime. Te militaristic humanitarianism of Wilson has
become a war against progress. Te heritage of “war against war” is more deadly than the
slaughter itself.
Bill Haywood, released on bail, has again been arrested. Rose Pastor Stokes was extra-
dited to lllinois for a speed that displeased some officials: larkin is about to be put on trial,
and Gitlow was condemned to fineen years.
A similar spirit of reaction is manifest all through lurope. White Terror is in the saddle.
Jac Reed has been arrested in linland en route to America.
“Only here we can breathe freely,” Bieland remarked fervently. l did not gainsay it.
Notwithstanding all the faults and shortcomings of the Bolsheviki, l feel that Russia is still
the hearth of the Revolution. lt is the tord whose light is visible throughout the world, and
proletarian hearts in every land are warmed by its glow.
* * *
April 12. — A gloomy day: cloudy, with slight rain — very oppressive aner the spring-like
weather we have been having. lt remains light now till 1c P. M. — the clocs had been turned
bac two hours and recently again another hour.
liza Zorin was taken to the hospital today, suffering mud pain· her dild is expected in
a few days. liza refused a private room, even objecting to being treated by a doctor instead
of a midwife, like any other proletarian mother. Of delicate physique and suffering from a
weak heart, she is strong in spirit· a true Communist who refuses to accept special privileges.
She has nothing for her baby, but “other mothers have no more, and why should l`” she says.
Moscow has refused Bill Shatov permission to leave Siberia to visit his sic wife. Tough
Commissar of Railroads in the lar lastern Republic, Bill is virtually in exile.
* * *
Disclosures in the Pravda about the Petrograd reformatories for dildren have stirred the
city. A Commiuee of the Communist Youth had been investigating the institutions, and now
its report has uncovered a most deplorable state of affairs. Te “reformatories” are darged
with being veritable prisons in whid the young inmates are regarded as criminals. Defective
dildren are subject to severe punishment, and boyish pranks are treated as serious offenses.
Te general management has been found permeated with bureaucracy and corruption. A
favorite mode of punishment is to deprive the dildren of their meals, and the food thus
saved is appropriated by the managers of the institution. By corrupt methods the Commissars
procure supplies on padded lists for purposes of speculation. Nepotism prevails, the number
of employees onen equaling that of the dildren.
l had been considering for some time taking up educational work, and l used the oppor-
tunity to discuss the mauer with Zorin. He was greatly displeased at the revelations and
inclined to consider the sdool situation exaggerated by the youthful investigators. He in-
sisted that existing evils are due diefly to the lac of Bolshevik teaders. Only Communists
can be trusted in responsible positions, he asserted. Where non-partisans hold high office, it
has become necessary to put a politkom (political commissar) at the head of the institution
to guard against sabotage. Tis system, though uneconomical, is imperative in view of the
scarcity of Communist organizers and workers. lvils and abuses in Soviet institutions are
almost wholly due to this situation, Zorin claims. Te average man is a Philistine, whose sole
thought is to exploit every opportunity to secure greater advantages for himself, his family,
and friends. lt is bourgeois human nature, niteve ne podelayesh. lt is true, of course, that
most Soviet employees steal and speculate. But the Government is fighting these evils with
merciless hand. Sud men are onen shot as guilty of crime against the Revolution. But the
hunger is so great that even communists, those not sufficiently grounded in the ideas and dis-
cipline of the Party, onen fall victims to temptation. Sud receive even less shrin than others.
To them the Government is ruthless and justly so· Communists are the advance guard of the
Revolution — they should show an example of devotion, honesty, and selfsacrifice.
We discussed means of eradicating the evils in the dildren’s institutions, and Zorin wel-
comed my practical suggestions based on educational experience in America. l offered to
devote myself to the work, but l felt compelled to make the condition that l be relieved of
politkoms and be given opportunity to carry out my ideas in the treatment of bacward and
so-called morally defective dildren. Zorin referred me to lilina, Zinoviev’s wife, who is at
the head of the educational institutions of Petrograd, and playfully warned me not to repeat
the faux pas l had made when l first met the lady.
On that occasion, when l called at Zinoviev’s rooms in the Astoria, a comely young
woman answered the bell. “Are you Mme. Zinoviev`” l inquired, unconscious of the fact
act that l was commiuing an unpardonable bread of Bolshevik etiqueue: in fact, a double
bread in employing the bourgeois expression “Madame” and in failing to address her by her
own name, whid l could not remember at the moment.
“l’ll call tovarisht lilina,” she said censoriously, and the next instant l faced an irate,
middle-aged woman with the face of a disgruntled spinster. She had evidently heard my
question, and her reception was ungracious.
“Tovarisht Zinoviev does not receive here. Go to the Smolny,” she said, without per-
miuing me to enter.
“l should like to use the direct wire to the loreign Office, on business with Tdiderin,” l
“You can’t do it, and l don’t know who you are,” she replied curtly, closing the door.
On the present occasion lilina was more gracious. We spoke of the conditions in the re-
formatories and she admiued that certain evils existed there, but protested that the published
report was grossly exaggerated. We discussed modern methods of education and l explained
the system followed by the lerrer Sdool in New York. She was inclined to agree in theory,
“but we must fit our youth,” she remarked, “to continue the work of our Revolution.” “Surely,”
l assented, “but is that to be done by the conventional methods whid stultify and cripple the
young mind by imposing upon it predigested views and dogmas`” l emphasized that the true
aim of education is to aid the harmonious development of the dild’s physical and mental
qualities, to encourage independence of thought and inspire creative effort.
lilina thought my views too Anardistic.
Chapter 16
Rest Homes for Workers
lor months Zorin had been thinking of a project to afford the toilers of Petrograd an oppor-
tunity to recuperate during the summer. Te workers are systematically undernourished and
exhausted — a few weeks’ rest and an improved pyo would give them new strength, and
would at the same time be a demonstration of the interest the Communist Party is taking in
their welfare.
Aner protracted discussion Zorin’s idea was approved by the lxecutive Commiuee of
the Petrograd Soviet, and he received authority to put his derished dream in operation.
Te former villas of the Russian nobility in the environs of the city were to be turned into
proletarian “rest homes” and rebuilt to hold ¯c,ccc workers, who will spend two weeks there
in groups of ¯,ccc.
Zorin enlisted my coöperation, and l have enthusiastically accepted. We have paid sev-
eral visits to Kameny lsland, where the most beautiful villas and palaces are situated, and l
have worked out a detailed plan for transforming theminto homes for small families of work-
ers, providing also for dining-rooms, libraries, and recreation places. Zorin has appointed me
general manager and requested that the work be rushed “in hurry-up American style,” as he
expressed himself, in order that everything be completed by the 1st of May, whid is to be
celebrated on a large scale as a revolutionary holiday.
Te island has been neglected since the Revolution: most of the villas need thorough
renovating and even the roads are badly out of repair. We mean to create an artistic summer
resort, with modern improvements and comforts for the benefit of the proletarians. Surely
no government has ever undertaken sud work before.
Arditects and civil engineers are on hand, but we find great difficulty in procuring
building material and efficient labor. Te Petrograd warehouses are stoced with the things
needed, but it is almost impossible to learn just what is on hand and where it is to be found.
When private property was nationalized, the stores and warehouses were sealed, and no one
apparently knows what they contain. Our arditects, engineers, and workers fly about the
city, wasting their time in a vain effort to secure the required material. lor days they crowd
the various bureaus to procure “authorized orders” for a few spades or lengths of water pipe,
and when these are finally secured, we are balked by the general ignorance as to where the
object sought can be found. ln this situation the only economic and efficient mode of proce-
dure would be to have our own commiuee overhaul the warehouses and take an inventory
of the stoc on hand. But my proposition to this effect has impugned upon the thic wall
of the prevailing bureaucratic system. Te Commissars of the various departments — all
Communists — are inclined to take offense at sud apparent ignoring of their authority· es-
tablished modes of procedure have to be followed. Moreover, the stores and warehouses had
been sealed by the Tdeka: without its permission in ead particular case the locs cannot be
touded. Te Tdeka frowns upon my suggestion, coming from a non-member of the Party,
at that. Niteve ne podelayesh, Zorin says.
l find the new Soviet bureaucracy, its inefficiency and indifference, the greatest handicap
in the work. lt involves a continuous struggle against official red tape,precedence, and peuy
jealousy. Time is passing, and almost no progress is being made. Te situation is disheart-
l consider it vital that the men employed in the work of preparing a recreation place for
the proletariat should themselves feel an interest in the mauer, for only thus can effective
coöperation be secured and results adieved. l have, therefore, suggested the formation of
a commiuee to visit the shops and factories, to explain our plan to the workers, and enlist
their interest and voluntary aid. l pointed out also the moral value of sud a proceeding,
and offered to organize the commiuee from the Buford deportees, most of whom are still
looking for employment. Zorin favors the idea, but objections have been raised in various
quarters. l wonder whether it is official distrust of the Buford men or disinclination to permit
sud a commiuee to get in direct contact with the workers. At any rate, the carrying out of
my suggestion has become involved in endless applications to various Commissars and has
apparently been lost in the intricate network of the Soviet madinery.
lnstead, soldiers and prisoners from the forced labor camps of the city have been com-
mandeered for road repairing, cleaning neglected gardens and renovating the houses. But
they have no interest in the work: their thoughts and time are entirely occupied with the
question of the pyo. A most vital mauer· for not being employed at their regular tasks,
they risk losing the rations due them, and no adequate provision has been made to feed them
on the island. Ageneral mess hall has been opened, but sudfavoritismprevails there that the
prisoners and soldiers without influence onen remain without meals, preference being given
to the numerous friends and appointees of the Commissars and Communists. Te common
laborers at work are growing dissatisfied. “Te actual worker,” a soldiersaid to me, “will not
get into the summer resort. lt will be only for Commissars and Communists.”
Some buildings in the area of the planned rest homes are occupied as dildren’s homes
and sdools: others, by the families of the intelligentsia. All of them have been ordered to
vacate. But while arrangements have been made to secure quarters for the sdools in the city,
the private dwellers are considered bourzhooi and as sud not worthy of any consideration·
they are to be evicted. Yet hidden influences are at work· a number of the bourzhooi have
received “protection,” while those without friends in high places are vainly begging for mercy.
Zorin has asked me to execute the order for eviction, but eager as l am to establish rest homes
for the workers, l had to refuse to coöperate in what seems to me gross injustice and needless
brutality. Zorin is displeased at my “sentimentality,” and l am being eliminated from the
Chapter 17
e First of May
Awakened early in the morning by strains of music and song, l went out into the street. Te
city was in gala auire· flags and banners fluuered in the air: red carpets and curtains hung
from windows and doors, the variety of shade and design producing a warm, Oriental effect.
On the Nevsky a large automobile passed me, stopping a few paces ahead. A curly, blac
head rose from the depths of the madine, and someone hailed me· “Hello, Berkman, come
and join us.” l recognized Zinoviev.
Detadments of military filed by, singing revolutionary songs, and groups of boys and
girls marded to the strains of the lnternational. “Subotniki,”' Zinoviev remarked, “going to
Marsove Pole to plant trees on the graves of our heroic dead.” Our car moved slowly between
phalanxes of revolutionary youths and Red Army men, and my mind reverted to a previous
May Day demonstration. lt was my first experience of the kind, in New York, in the lauer
part of the sc’s. Radicals of every camp had coöperated to make the event successful, and
a huge demonstration was expected on the historic Union Square. But the majority of the
American workers of the city remained deaf to our proclamation, and only a few thousands
auended, mostly of the foreign element.
Te meeting had just begun when suddenly the blue-coated giants appeared, and the
gathering was auaced with riot clubs and dispersed into the side streets. Some of us had
foreseen sud a possibility, and a liule group of the younger element had prepared to resist
the police. But on the eve of the demonstration, in our last commiuee conference, H—, the
leader of the older members, had warned us against “being provoked into violence,” and
well l remember how passionately l resented the “arguments” of the pusillanimous Social
Democrat. “We are the teaders of the people,” he had said, “and we must lead themto greater
class consciousness. But we are few and it were folly to sacrifice ourselves unnecessarily. We
must save ourselves for more important work.”
l scoffed at the cowardly warning and called it the spiritual acme of our Christian civiliza-
tion whid has turned the bold eagle, man, into a fox. But H—’s speed paled the enthusiasm
'lrom the Russian subota, Saturday. Applied to volunteers offering their labor Saturday aner hours.
of our group, and there was no resistance to the police brutality. l went home discouraged
by the ignominious failure of our 1st of May demonstration.
Te metallic thunder of the “lnternational,” struc up by several bands at once, recalled
me to the present. Here, indeed, was the lirst of May of my youthful dreams. Here was the
Revolution itself!
At the Uritsky Square we alighted. Affectionately l looked at the workers and soldiers that
joined our group. Here were the builders of the Revolution who, in the face of insurmountable
difficulties, are leading it to victory. l glanced at Zinoviev — he looked weary, overworked,
heavy rings under his eyes — the “Communist look” l had become familiar with.
Te procession formed. Zinoviev put his arm through mine, and someone pushed us into
the front rank. Holding hands, the lines marded toward the lield of Mars, Zorin carrying the
huge red banner. His slender figure staggered beneath its weight, andwilling hands stretded
out to relieve him. But Zorin would not be deprived of the precious burden.
Te lield of Mars was doued with bending figures busily at work — the subotniki deco-
rating the graves of the revolutionary martyrs. Tey labored joyfully, snatdes of their song
reading us between the pauses of the brass bands in our rear.
l stood with Zinoviev on the reviewing stand, interpreting his answers to the Ameri-
can correspondent whom Tdiderin finally admiued into Russia. As far as the eye could
read, soldiers and workers filled the huge square and adjoining streets. Proletarians from
the factories marded by, ead group with its crimson banner inscribed with revolutionary
mouoes. Red Army nurses, women employees of shops and Soviet institutions, regiments of
the Communist Youth, the vsevobut of the armed workers, and long lines of dildren, boys
and girls, filed by with the flags of their organizations.
lt was the most imposing demonstration of revolutionary consciousness l had ever seen,
and l felt inspired by it. But the appearance of the marders was depressing: they were un-
dernourished, exhausted, poorly clad, and l noticed many dildren walking barefoot. lt was
probably due to their physical weakness, l thought, that the paraders showed so liule enthu-
siasm — they barely responded to the greetings of the Communists on the reviewing stand,
and the frequent “Hurrah, Hurrah, Tovarishti!” shouted by lashevitd and Antselovitd,
Zinoviev’s lieutenants, found but a weak, spiritless edo in the ranks of the passing demon-
Te festivities closed in the evening with an open air mass spectacle, illustrating the tri-
umph of the Revolution. lt was a powerful portrayal of the age-long slavery of the people, of
their suffering and misery, and the underground revolutionary activities of the pioneers of
liberty. Te best artists of the city participated in the portrayal of the great Russian drama
and gave an intense and moving presentation. l was spellbound by the horrors of the Tsars’
tyranny: the clanking of the slaves’ dains edoed in my consciousness, and l heard the mut-
tering of approading storm from the depths. Ten sudden thunder of cannon, groans of the
wounded and dying in the world slaughter, followed by the lightning of rebellion and the
Triumph of the Revolution.
l lived through the whole gamut of the great struggle within the two hours of the perfor-
mance, and l was profoundly stirred. But the huge auddience remained silent — not a sign of
approval was manifested. Was it the apathy of the northern temperament, l wondered, when
l heard a young workman nearby saying· “What’s the use of it all! l’d like to know what we
have gained.”
Chapter 18
e British Labor Mission
May, 1920. — New life has come to Petrograd with the arrival of the British Mission: many
meetings, banquets, and festivities are taking place in its honor. l believe the Communists are
inclined to exaggerate the importance of the visit and its probable results. Some even think
the coming of the lnglishmen augurs the political recognition of Russia in the near future.
Soviet newspapers and Communist speedes have created the impression that the Mission
represents the sentiment of the whole British proletariat, and that the lauer is about to come
to the aid of Russia.
l heard the subject discussed by a group of workers and soldiers at the meeting in the
labor Temple. l had been asked to render into lnglish the resolutions to be presented, and a
small table was assigned to me. People crowded about me to get a beuer look at the delegates
on the platform. Te full glare of the electric lights shone upon Ben Turner, the Chairman of
the Mission, short, stocy, and well-fed.
“Tere, look at him!” a worker behind me exclaimed, “you can tell he’s from abroad. Our
people are not so fat.”
“What wonder!” a soldier replied, “it isn’t Russia, lngland isn’t, and people don’t go
hungry there.”
“Te workers starve everywhere,” a hoarse voice said.
“Tese are not workers,” the first man corrected. “Tey are delegates.”
“Of course, delegates, but proletarian delegates,” the hoarse voice insisted. “Te lnglish
working class sent them to see what help we need.”
“You think they will help`” the soldier asked hopefully.
“Tat’s what they are here for. Tey’ll go bac home and tell the proletariat there how
we suffer, and they’ll have the blocade taken off.”
“God be willing, God be willing,” the worker sighed fervently.
A man passed by, energetically pushing his way through the crowd, and ascended the
platform. His prosperous appearance, well-fiuing clothes, and ruddy face were in striking
contrast with the people about.
“look at that fat delegate! Tey ain’t starving in lngland,” the soldier whispered to his
Something familiar about the stout “delegate” fastened my auention. His eye fell upon
me and he smiled recognition. lt was Melnitdansky, the Chairman of the Moscow Soviet of
labor Unions.
* * *
Considerable disappointment is felt in Communist circles regarding the Mission. Te mili-
tary displays have failed to impress them, the visits to mills and factories have produced no
enthusiasm among the “cold-blooded Britishers.” Tey seem purposely to avoid a definite ex-
pression of opinion regarding aid that might be expected from their country or the nature of
their report to the workers of lngland. Certain remarks by individual delegates have caused
uneasiness. Some Communists think it poor taste to honor a labor mission with military
demonstrations, some of whose members are outspoken pacifists. A revolutionary country
like Russia, they say, should lay more stress on the proletarian consciousness of the people as
the true symbol of its daracter and the best guarantee of its peaceful intentions. Te visits to
the industrial establishments, it is claimed, could impress only with their lac of productive
results and the fact that the factories and mills had been “primed” for the delegates. lt is
even whispered about that the Britishers sense in the official atmosphere with whid they
are surrounded a sort of surveillance very irksome to them.
Te men sent from Moscow to welcome the Mission — Radek, Melnitdansky, and Petro-
vsky — believe that every effort must be made to create a good impression on the delegates,
in the hope of securing their favorable report in lngland and correspondent action there in
behalf of Russia. Radek and Petrovsky are strong defenders of “diplomacy”: Petrovsky, es-
pecially, who apparently enjoys considerable influence in the councils of the Party, though
his allegiance to Bolshevism is of very recent origin. l knew him in America as Dr. Gold-
farb, labor editor of the New York Jewish Forward, and a very fanatical Social Democrat —
a Menshevik, in the Russian terminology. His conversion to Bolshevism was rather sudden,
and l am surprised to learn that he holds the important position of Commissar of military
Angelica Balabanova, an old revolutionist and very lovable personality, who is on the
Reception Commiuee, agrees with me that the best policy is to enable the Mission to learn
the whole truth concerning Russia, and to enlist their friendship and coöperation in the work
of upbuilding the country by their adequate understanding of its needs, rather than by the lac
of it. But the other members of the Commiuee of Welcome hold a different view. Overzealous
and anxious, they exaggerate the truth and minimize or entirely deny the weak points. At
demonstrations and meetings this policy has been followed, but it is evident that some of
the delegates saw through the mask of pretense. At the final banquet given in honor of the
Britishers before their departure for Moscow, almost every speaker emphasized the fact that
only the truth had been told the Mission, unconscious of the smile of incredulity in the polite
auention of the delegates. Antselovitd, Chairman of the Petrograd Soviet of labor Unions,
rose even to the height of asserting that full individual liberty is established in Russia —
at least for the workers, he added, as if suddenly become aware of the reclessness of his
Perhaps l did Antselovitd an injustice by omiuing that falsehood in my translation of
his speed. But l could not stand up before the delegates and repeat what l knew, as well
as they, to be a deliberate lie, as stupid as it was unnecessary. Te delegates are aware that
dictatorship is the reverse of liberty. Tey know there is no freedom of speed or press for
anyone in Soviet Russia, not even for Communists, and that sanctity of home or person
is unknown. Te exigencies of the revolutionary struggle make sud a condition of affairs
imperative, lenin frankly admits. lt is an insult to the intelligence of the Mission to pretend
At our visits to the mills and factories Antselovitd and his aides danced auendance
upon the delegates in a manner clearly displeasing to them. One of the Britishers hinted to
his colleagues that the places had received previous notice and were “prepared” for the distin-
guished guests. Te information about conditions and output given by managers, foremen,
and Communist employees varied so obviously as to elicit surprised remarks. Some members
of the Mission were aware of the auendance of Tdekists and conscious of the timidity of the
workers in their presence.
* * *
A train de luxe, with Pullman sleepers and diner, was waiting at the Nikolayevsky Station
to take the British Mission to Moscow. At every car the delegates were saluted by the guard
of honor, young Mussulmen kursanti' in their picturesque Tderkess uniforms. Te place
presented an unusually serene appearance. Te customary crowds with their heavy loads,
shouting and pushing, were absent. Not a bedraggled workman or filthy beggar was in sight.
Station and platform were the picture of cleanliness and well-regulated order.
At the stroke of 11 P. M. on Sunday, May 1e, the Mission started for Moscow. Te del-
egates were accompanied by a large coterie of prominent Communists, including Radek,
Kollontay, losovsky, his daughter, who acts as his secretary, Balabanova, Zorin, and some
lesser lights. By request l went with the Mission as unofficial interpreter, sharing my coupé
with ldov, head of the Government publications in Petrograd.
On the way Russia and Russian conditions were discussed, the Communists striving to
“draw out” the delegates, while most of the lauer were careful to express no definite opinion.
ln general terms Ben Turner, the Chairman of the Mission, spoke of the need of a more hu-
mane auitude to Russia, while Messrs. Skinner and Purcell nodded their approval — more of
the generality of the Chairman’s remarks, it seemed to me, than of their meaning. Williams
'Communist students of military academies training officers for the Red Army.

was outspoken in his admiration of the good order whid prevails in Petrograd, while Wall-
head, of the lndependent labor Party, agreed with Allen — the only Communist among the
lnglishmen — in roundly denouncing the Allied crime of the blocade whid is starving mil-
lions of innocent women and liule dildren. Mrs. Snowden preserved the well-bred dignity
of high society, participating in the conversation to the extent of a patronizing smile that
said very plainly, “l am with you, but not of you.” Once she voiced her pleasant surprise
at not finding the streets of Petrograd infested with highwaymen who robbed the people
unhindered by daylight, as “some folks in lngland believed.”
Of all the delegates, the most sympathetic to me were Allen, with his thoughtful, ascetic
face, and Bertrand Russell, who accompanied the Mission in a private capacity, l believe.
Unlike ead other in temperament and viewpoint, both impressed me as men of deep insight
and social sincerity.
ln Moscow a great ovation had been prepared for the Mission. Te railway platform
was lined with Red Army men in dress parade uniforms and shining accoutrements, military
bands played the lnternational, and Communist orators gave a “triumphant welcome” to the
British guests. Kamenev greeted them on behalf of the Central Government, and Tomsky,
President of the All-Russian Soviet of labor Unions, in a long speed addressed the repre-
sentatives of the British workers in the name of their Russian brothers. All the speakers
daracterized the happy occasion as the symbol of the common cause of the toilers of the
two countries and voiced the conviction that the lnglish proletariat is about to come to the
aid of the Revolution.
lor almost two hours the delegates were kept standing on the platform listening to
speedes in a language unintelligible to them. But at last the ceremony was over, and the
visitors were seated in automobiles and driven to the Soviet Hotel, assigned as their quarters.
ln the great crowding the lnglishmen became separated, some of them almost submerged by
the surging waves of humanity. Gradually the soldiers filed out, the crowd thinned, and at
last l was able to make my way to the street. Te Government madines had already len, and
l looked about for an isvoshtik (cab), when l noticed Bertrand Russell struggling out of the
station. He stood bewildered on the steps, not knowing where to turn, forgouen amidst the
excited people shouting a strange jargon. An auto drove up at that moment, and l recognized
“l am a liule late,” he said: “are all the delegates gone`”
“Bertrand Russell is here yet,” l replied.
“Russell` Who is he`”
l explained.
“Never heard of him,” Karakhan said naïively. “But let him come in: there’s room for
both of you.”
* * *
Delovoi Dvor, the Soviet Hotel assigned to the British guests, has been entirely renovated,
and looks clean and fresh. Te large dining roomis tastefully decorated with crimson banners
and mouoes of welcome. Socialist legends of the solidarity of the workers of the world and
the triumph of the Revolution through the dictatorship of the proletariat speak from the walls
in various tongues. Poued plants lend the spacious room warmth and color.
Covers were set for a large number, including the delegates, the official representatives of
the Soviet Government, some members of the Tird lnternational, and the invited spokesmen
of labor. Russian caviar, soup, white bread, two kinds of meat and a variety of vegetables
were on the menu. When fried dicen was served, l saw some of the Britishers exdange
wondering glances.
“A jolly good meal for starving Russia,” a delegate at my side remarked to his neighbor
in the lull of clauering dishes and laughter.
“Rather. Nauy wend,” the other replied with a suggestive wink at the winsome young
waitress serving him. “Tought the Bolsheviks had done away with servants.”
Angelica Balabanova, siuing opposite me, looked perturbed.
* * *
On May 1sth, the day following its arrival in Moscow, the Mission was honored with a great
demonstration. lt was a splendid military display, all brandes of the Red Army participating.
No workers marded in the parade.
Te continuous round of festivities, special theatrical performances, and visits to fac-
tories, are apparently palling upon the delegates. A feeling of dissatisfaction is noticeable
among them, a sense of resentment at the apparent surveillance to whid they feel them-
selves subjected. Several have complained of inability to see their callers, the propusk sys-
tem introduced in the Delovoy Dvor since the arrival of the Mission practically excluding
visitors considered persona non grata by the Tdeka agent at the clerk’s desk. Te delegates
are becoming aware of the subtle curtailment of their liberty, conscious of their every step
and word being spied upon. Tey resent the “prison atmosphere,” as a member of the Mis-
sion daracterized the environment. “We are friendly disposed,” he said to me, “and there
is no sense in sud tactics.” He was not content with seeing only things officially shown to
the Mission, he said. He was anxious to look deeper, and he complained of being compelled
to resort to stratagems in order to come in contact with persons whose views he wanted to
“Te Russian Revolution is the greatest event in all history,” one of the delegates remarked
to me, “peuy consideration should have no place in it. A new world is in the making: to min-
imize the terrific travail of sud a birth is worse than folly. Te Bolsheviki, in the vanguard of
the revolutionary masses, are playing a part in the process whose significance history will not
fail to estimate. Tat they have made mistakes is inevitable, is human: but in spite of errors,
they are founding a new civilization. History does not forgive failure· it will immortalize the

Bolsheviki because of their success in the face of almost insuperable difficulties. Tey may
justly be proud of their adievements.”
He paused, then continued thoughtfully· “let the delegates and the world look the situ-
ation full in the face. We must learn what revolution actually is. Te Russian Revolution is
not a mauer of mere political recognition: it is a world-danging event. Of course we’ll find
wrongs and abuses in it. A period of sud storm and strife is unthinkable without them. lvils
discovered need only be cured, and well-intentioned criticism is of utmost value. Nor is it
a secret that Russia is suffering from starvation, and it is criminal to pretend well-being by
grand banquets and dinners. On the contrary, let the delegates behold the terrible effects of
the blocade, let them see the frightful disease and mortality resulting from it. No outsider
can have even an approximate conception of the full extent of the Allied crime against Rus-
sia. Te closer the delegates come in contact with the actuality, the more convincing will be
their appeal to the British proletariat, and the more effectively will they be able to fight the
blocade and lntente intervention.”
Chapter 19
e Spirit of Fanaticism
Te Universalist Club on the Tverskaya was in great commotion. Anardists, len Social Rev-
olutionists, and Maximalists, with a considerable sprinkling of factory workers and soldiers,
filled the lecture room and were excitedly discussing something. As l entered, a tall, well-
built young man in a naval blouse separated himself from the crowd and approaded me. lt
was my friend G., the Anardist sailor.
“What do you say now, Berkman`” he demanded, his strong face expressive of deep
indignation. “Do you still think the Bolsheviki revolutionary`”
l learned that forty-five Anardists in the Butirki prison (Moscow) had been subjected
to sud unbearable conditions of existence that they at last resorted to the desperate protest
of a hunger strike. All of them have been in prison for many months, ever since the leon-
tievsky affair,' without darges being preferred against them. Tey are kept under a most
rigid régime, deprived of exercise and visitors, and the food served them is so insufficient
and unwholesome that almost all of the prisoners are ill with scurvy. Te hunger strikers
demand to be tried or released, and their action is considered so justifiable by the other pris-
oners that the entire Butirki population of over 1,¯cc have joined the strikers. Tey have
sent a collective protest to the Central lxecutive of the Communist Party, copies of whid
have also been forwarded to lenin, the Moscow Soviet, the labor Unions, and other official
bodies. ln view of the urgency of the situation the Universalists have elected a Commiuee to
call on the Secretary of the Communist Party, and it has been suggested that l also join the
“Will you help`” my sailor friend asked, “or have you entirely deserted us`”
“Perhaps you’ll soon be in the Party,” another remarked biuerly, “you’re a Bolshevik now,
a Sovietsky Anardist.”
ln the hope that a reapproadment may still be established between the Communists and
the len elements, l consented.
'On September z¯, 1)1), an “underground” group of len Social Revolutionists and Anardists exploded a
bomb in the leontievsky Pereulok house in whidthe MoscowCommiuee of the Communist Party was in session.
Returning home that evening, l reflected on the failure of my previous efforts to bring
about a beuer understanding between the warring revolutionary factions. l recalled my visits
to lenin and Krestinsky, my talks with Zinoviev, Tdiderin, and other leading Bolsheviki.
lenin had promised to have the Central Commiuee consider the mauer, but his reply — in
the form of a resolution of the Party — merely repeated that “ideini Anardists (Anardists
of ideas) are not persecuted,” but emphasized that “agitation against the Soviet Government
cannot be tolerated.” Te question of legalizing Anardist educational work, whidl discussed
with Krestinsky several weeks ago, has not been acted upon and has evidently been ignored.
Persecution of the len elements continues, and the prisons are filled with revolutionists.
Many of them have been outlawed and compelled to “go underground.” Maria Spiridonova´
has for a long time been imprisoned in the Kremlin, and her friends are being hunted as in
the days of the Tsar.
A sense of discouragement comes over me as l witness the biuer animosity of the Com-
munists toward the other revolutionary elements. Tey are, even more ruthless in suppress-
ing the len opposition than that of the Right. lenin, Tdiderin, and Zinoviev assured me
that Spiridonova and her circle are dangerous enemies of the Revolution. Te Government
pretended to consider Maria insane and had placed her in a sanitarium, from whid she re-
cently escaped. But l had an opportunity to visit the young woman, who is again hiding as in
the Romanov times. l found her perfectly well-balanced, a most sincere idealist passionately
devoted to the peasantry and the best interests of the Revolution. Te other members of her
circle — Kamkov, Trutovsky, lzmailovitd — are persons of high intelligence and integrity.
Te Bolsheviki, they believe, have betrayed the Revolution: but they do not advocate armed
resistance to the Soviet Government, demanding only freedom of expression. Tey consider
the Brest peace as the most fatal Communist step, the beginning of their reactionary policies
and of the persecution of the len elements. ln protest against it and against the presence of
the representative of German imperialism in Soviet Russia, they caused the death of Count
Mirbad in 1)1s.
Te Communists have grown jesuitical in their auitude to other viewpoints. Yet most
of them l find sincere and hard-working men, devoted to their cause and serving it to the
point of self-abnegation. Very illuminating was my experience with Bakaiev, the head of the
Petrograd Tdeka, with whom l interceded in behalf of three Anardists arrested recently. A
simple and unassuming man, l found him in a small unpretentious room in the Astoria, at
dinner with his brother. Tey sat before a meager meal of thin soup and rice dessert: there
was no meat and only a few slices of blac bread. l could not help noticing that both men
remained hungry.
lntroduced by a personal note from Zinoviev, l appealed to Bakaiev for the prisoners,
informing him that l knew them personally and considered their arrest unjustifiable.
“Tey are true revolutionists,” l urged. “Why do you keep them in prison`”
´Te famous revolutionist who killed General lukhomsky, the peasant flogger, and who was tortured by the
Tsar’s officers and then sent to Siberia for life. Released by the Revolution of 1)1¯, she became the leader of the
len Social Revolutionary wing, gaining a large following, especially among the peasantry.
“ln the room of Td— ,” Bakaiev replied, “we found certain apparatus.”
“Td— is a demist,” l explained.
“We know it,” he retorted: “but anti-Soviet handbills had been found in the factories,
and my men thought they might have some connection with Td— ’s laboratory. But he
stubbornly refused to answer questions.”
“Well, that’s an old practice of arrested revolutionists,” l reminded him.
Bakaiev grew indignant. “Tat is why l’m holding him,” he declared. “Sud tactics were
justified against the bourgeois régime, but it is an insult to treat us so. Td— acts as if we
were gendarmes.”
“Do you think it mauers by whom one is kept in jail`”
“Well, don’t let us discuss it, Berkman,” he said. “You don’t know for whom you are
“And the other two men`”
“Tey were found with Td— ,” he replied. “We are not persecuting Anardists, believe
me: but these men are not safe at liberty.”
l appealed to Ravitd, the Commissar of lnternal Affairs for the Petrograd District, a
young woman with the impress of tragic revolutionary experience on her comely face. She
regreued that she could do nothing, the Tdeka having exclusive authority in sud mauers,
and referred me to Zinoviev. Te lauer hadnot been informed of the arrests, but he assured
me l need not be anxious about my friends.
“You know, Berkman, we do not arrest ideini Anardists,” he said: “but those people are
not your kind. Anyhow, rest easy: Bakaiev knows what he is about.”
He slapped me deerfully on the shoulder and invited me to join him in the lmperial loge
at the ballet that evening.
later l learned that Bakaiev was suspended and exiled to the Caucasus for his too zealous
use of summary execution.
May 25. — Tis morning, on the finh day of the Burtiki hunger strike, l called at the
offices of the Central Commiuee of the Party, on Mokhovaia Street. As on my previous visit
the anterooms were crowded with callers: numerous clerks, mostly young girls in abbreviated
skirts and high-heeled lacquered shoes, fliued about with arms full of documents: others sat
at desks writing and sorting large piles of reports and dokladi. l felt in the whirl of a huge
madine, its wheels unceasingly revolving above the beehive on the street and grinding out
slips of paper, endless paper for the guidance of the millions of Russia.
Preobrazhensky, formerly Commissar of linance and now in Krestinsky’s place, received
me somewhat coldly. He had read the protest of the hunger strikers, he said, but what of it`
“What is it you come for`” he demanded.
l stated my mission. Te politicals have been kept in prison for nine months, some of
them even for two years, without trial or darges, and now they demand some action in their
“Tey are within their rights,” Preobrazhensky replied, “but if your friends think they can
influence us by a hunger strike, they are mistaken. Tey may starve as long as they want.”
He paused and a hard expression came into his eyes. “lf they die,” he added thoughtfully,
“perhaps it would be best.”
“l have come to you as a comrade,” l said indignantly, “but if you take sud an auitude —

“l have no time to discuss it,” he interrupted. “Te mauer will be considered this evening
by the Central Commiuee.”
later in the day l learned that ten of the imprisoned Anardists, including Gordin — the
founder of the Universalist group — were released by order of the Tdeka, in the hope of
breaking the hunger strike. Tis development was independent of any action of the Central
Commiuee. lt also became known that some of the Butirki politicals were condemned to
five years’ prison, without having received hearing or trial, while others were sentenced to
concentration camps “till the end of civil war.”
* * *
l was in a roomin the Hotel National translating for the British labor Mission various resolu-
tions, articles, and losovsky’s brodure on the history of Russian unionism, when l received a
message from Radek asking me to call on a mauer of great urgency. Wondering, l entered the
automobile he had sent for me and was driven at a fast clip through the city till we readed
the former quarters of the German legation, now occupied by the Tird lnternational. Te
elegant reception hall was filled with callers and foreign delegates, some of whom were cu-
riously examining the bullet marks in the mosaic floor and walls — reminders of the violent
death Mirbad had met in this room at the hands of len Social Revolutionists opposed to the
Brest peace.
l was conscious of the disapproving looks directed at me when, out of my turn, l was
requested to follow the auendant to the private office of the Secretary of the Communist
lnternational. Radek received me very cordially, inquired about my health, and thanked me
for so promptly responding to his call. Ten, handing me a thic manuscript, he said·
“llyitd (lenin) has just finished this work and he is anxious to have you render it into
lnglish for the British Mission. You will do us a great service.”
lt was the manuscript of “Te lnfantile Sicness of lenism.” l had already heard about the
forthcoming work and knew it to be an auac on the len revolutionary tendencies critical
of leninism. l turned over some pages, with their profusely underscored lines corrected
in lenin’s small but legible handwriting. “Peuy bourgeois ideology of Anardism,” l read:
“the infantile stupidity of lenism,” “the ultrarevolutionists suffocating in the fervor of their
dildish enthuslasm.” Te pale faces of the Butirki hunger strikers rose before me. l saw their
burning eyes peering accusingly at me through the iron bars. “Have you forsaken us`” l
heard them whisper.
“We are in a great hurry about this translation.” Radek was saying, and l felt impatience
in his voice. “We want it done within three days.”
“lt will require at least a week,” l replied. “Besides, l have other work on hand, already
“l know, losovsky’s,” he remarked with a disparaging tilt of the head: “that’s all right.
lenin’s takes precedence. You can drop everything else, on my responsibility.”
“l will undertake it if l may add a preface.”
“Tis is no joking mauer, Berkman.” Radek was frankly displeased.
“l speak seriously. Tis pamphlet misrepresents and besmirdes all my ideals. l cannot
agree to translate it without adding a few words in defense.”
“Otherwise you decline`”
“l do.”
Radek’s manner laced warmth as l took my departure.
* * *
A subtle dange has taken place in the auitude of the Communists toward me. l notice cold-
ness in their greeting, a toud of resentment even. My refusal to translate lenin’s brodure
has become known, and l am made to feel guilty of lèse majesté.
l have been accompanying the British Mission on its visits to mills, theaters, and sdools,
and everywhere l was aware of the scrutinizing gaze of the Tdekamen auending the dele-
gates as guides and interpreters. ln the Delovoi Dvor the clerk has suddenly begun to demand
my propusk and to ask my “business,” though he knows that l live there and am helping the
delegates with translations.
l have decided to give up my room in the Dvor and to accept the hospitality of a friend
in the National. lt is contrary to the rules of the Soviet Houses, no visitor being permiued
to remain aner midnight. At that hour the day’s propuski, with the names of the callers and
the persons visited, are turned over to the Tdeka. Not being an official guest of the Hotel, l
am not entitled to meals and am compelled to commit another bread of Communist order
by resorting to the markets, officially abolished but practically in operation. Te situation is
growing intolerable, and l am preparing to leave for Petrograd.
“You have become persona non grata,” Augustine Soudy, the delegate of the German
Syndicalist Union, remarked as we were siuing in the Delovoi translating the resolutions
submiued by losovsky to the labor representatives of Sweden, Norway, and Germany.
“ln both camps,” l laughed. “My friends of the len call me a Bolshevik, while the Com-
munists look askance at me.”
“Many of us are in the same boat,” Soudy replied.
Bertrand Russell passed by and called me aside. “l think nothing will come of our pro-
posed visit to Peter Kropotkin,” he said. “lor five days they have been promising a madine.
lt’s always ‘in a moment it will be here,’ and the days pass in vain waiting.”
A curly-headed liule Communist, one of the lnglish-speaking guides assigned to the
Mission, sauntered by, as if inadvertently.
“ls the madine ready`” Russell asked. “lt was to be here at ten this morning: it’s z P. M.
“Te Commissar just told me that the madine unfortunately got out of order,” the guide
Russell smiled. “Tey are sabotaging our visit,” he said: “we’ll have to drop it.” Ten he
added sadly· “l feel like a prisoner, every step watded. Already in Petrograd l became aware
of this annoying surveillance. lt’s rather stupid of them.”
l listened to some of the British delegates discussing the printers’ meeting from whid
they had just returned. Melnitdansky and other Bolsheviki had addressed the gathering, eu-
logizing the Soviet regime and the Communist dictatorship. Suddenly a man wearing a long
blac beard appeared on the platform. Before anyone realized his identity, he launded an at-
tac on the Bolsheviki. He branded them as the corrupters of the Revolution and denounced
their tyranny as worse than the Tsar’s. His fiery oratory kept the audience spellbound. Ten
someone shouted· “Who are you` Your name!”
“l am Tdernov, Victor Tdernov,” the man replied in bold, defiant voice.
Te Bolsheviki on the platform jumped to their feet in rage.
“Hurrah! long live Tdernov, brave Tdernov!” the audience shouted, and a wild ova-
tion was tendered the Social Revolutionary leader and former President of the Constituent
“Arrest him! Hold the traitor!” came from the Communists. Tere was a rush to the
platform, but Tdernov had disappeared.
Some of the Britishers expressed admiration for the daring of the man whom the Tdeka
has been so assiduously searding for a long time. “lt was rather exciting,” someone remarked.
“l shudder to think what will happen to him if he’s caught,” said another.
“Deucedly clever, his escape.”
“Te printers will pay for it.”
“l hear the leaders of the Tird Soviet bakery are under arrest and the men loced out for
demanding more bread.”
“lt’s different at home,” a delegate sighed. “But l believe we all agree that the blocade
must be raised.”
Chapter 20
Other People
June. — Winter has released its icy grip, and the sun shines brightly. ln the parks the bendes
are filling with people.
Our Buford mascot, the “Baby,” passed me and l hailed him. Te color has faded from his
face, and he looks yellow and weary.
“No, most of our boys are not working yet,” he said, “and we’re sic of the red tape. Tey
always tell you they need workers, but nobody really wants us. Of course, the Communists
of our group have all gouen good berths. Have you heard about Bianki` You remember
how he roasted them at that meeting in Belo-Ostrov` How he joined the Party and got a
responsible job` Te Boston sailor, remember him` Well, l met him walking on the street the
other day, all dressed up in a leather suit, with a gun as big as your arm. ln the Tdeka. His
old business. Did you know he was a detective in Boston`”
“l thought he was a sailor.”
“Years bac. later he served in a private sleuth agency.
“Several of our boys worked for a while in the Petrotop,”' the “Baby” continued. “Te
Tdeka thought there were too many Anardists there and they kiced us out. Dzerzhinsky´
says the Petrotop is an Anardist nest: but everyone knows the city would have frozen to
death last winter if it wasn’t for Kolobushkin. He is an Anardist and the whole brains of
that place, but they talk of arresting him. An oldSdlüsselburg man at that: spent ten years
in the dungeons there.”
With primitive unconcern of those about her, an old peasant woman has bared the bacof
a young girl at her side and is closely scrutinizing her garments. With deliberate movement
her thumb and forefinger come together, she withdraws her hand, straightens herself, and
releases her captive on the ground. Her neighbor draws nervously aside. “Be careful, good
woman,” he dides her, “l have enough of my own.”
“Tell me, my dear,” the old woman inquires, “is it true what people are saying about new
'Petrograd luel Department.
´President of the All-Russian Tdeka.

“With whom, then`”
“With the Poles.”
“Oh, God be merciful! And why must they always be fighting, liule Uncle`”
Te man is silent. Te girl lins her face from the woman’s lap. “lt’s dilly, aunt. Are you
done now`”
“You’re full of ‘em, dild.”
On the corner two militiamen are directing a group of street cleaners, oldish men and
boys from the concentration camp, and women arrested without documents on trains. Some
have high felt boots on, the loose soles flapping noisily in the liquid dung. Others are barefoot.
Tey work apathetically, carrying the filth from the yards to the street and loading it upon
carts. Te stend is nauseating.
A husky militsioner leisurely saunters up to one of the women. She is young and good-
looking, though extremely pale and gaunt.
“What’s your dreaming! Work, you wend,” he says, playfully poking her in the ribs.
“Have a heart,” she pleads. “l’m so weak: just out of the hospital when they nabbed me.”
“Serves you right for riding without a pass.”
“Couldn’t help it, liule pigeon,” she says good humoredly. “Tey told me my husband is
in Peter,` bac from the front, and he away from me five years. So l goes to the office: three
days in line and then they refuse me a pass. l thought l’d come some way, but they took me
off the train, and l’m so weak and sic and they give me no pyo. How am l to find my man
“Get yourself another,” the militiaman laughs. “You won’t see him again.”
“Why won’t l`” she demands angrily.
“Cause he’s likely been sent against the Poles.’
“Oh, my misfortune!” the woman wails. “ls there to be no end to war`”
“You’re a woman and naturally stupid. Can’t expect you to understand sud things!”
* * *
ln the Dom Outonikh (Home of the learned) l met literary men, scientists, and intellectuals
of various political camps, all looking the mere shadows of humans. Tey sat about listlessly,
some nibbling pieces of blac bread.
ln a corner a group was discussing the rumors of war.
“lt is a great blow to the hope of industrial revival,” B—, the well-known political
economist, said. “And we had begun to dream of more freedom to breathe.”
“Te worst of it is,” Z—, the ethnologist, remarked· “we shall not be able to receive the
book donations promised us from abroad.”
`Popular name for Petrograd.
“l’m so out of toud with scientific progress, l feel downright ignorant,” said Prof. l—,
the bacteriologist.
“Poland is on the eve of Revolution,” l—, the Communist asserted. “Te Red Army will
go straight to Warsawand we’ll help the Polish proletariat drive out the masters and establish
a Soviet Republic.”
“like our own,” B— retorted ironically. “Tey are to be congratulated.”
ln the evening l visited my friend Pyotr, a non-partisan worker in the Trubotdny mill.
“We have received war orders in the shop,” he was saying to his wife. “Howare we to conquer
the razrukha, our terrible economic ruin, when everything works for war again`”
A middle-aged man, stout and coarse looking, came in.
“Well, Pyotr Vassilitd,” he addressed the host deerily, “it’s war with Poland and we’ll
tead those pani a lesson.”
“lt’s easy for you to talk, lvan Nikolaievitd,” Pyotr replied: “you don’t have to live on
your pyo. He supplies lumber to the government,” he explained, turning to me, “and he
don’t starve, he don’t.”
“We must defend our country against the Poles,” the contractor replied sententiously.
“Will they take Vanya`” the housewife asked tearfully: “he is not seventeen yet.”
“l don’t mind going to the front,” came from the boy lying on the stove. “Tey get a good
pyo. in the Army, and l may advance to Kommandir like cousin Vaska did.”
He rose, drew a herring and a hunk of bread from his polushubka, and began to eat. His
father watded him hungrily. “Give mother a bite,” he urged aner a while: “she’s had nothing
since yesterday.”
“l’m not hungry,” the mother said apologetically.
“Yes, my friends,” the contractor spoke again as if remembering an unfinished thought,
“the Poles must be taught a lesson, and we must all defend the Revolution.”
“What are we to defend`” Pyotr demanded biuerly. “Te fat Commissars and the Tdeka
with its shoot ing, that’s what we defend. We haven’t got anything else.”
“You talk like a counter-revolutionist,” Vanya shouted, jumping off the stove.
“We haven’t even our dildren,” his father continued. “Tat boy has become a hoodlum
since he joined the Komsomol (Union of Communist Youth). He learns there to hate his
Vanya pushed his fur cap over his ears and stepped toward the door. “Take care l don’t
tell on you,” he said, slamming it behind him.
* * *
Te ltalian Socialist Mission, headed by Seraui, is in the city, and the occasion is celebrated
with the usual military parades, demonstrations, and meetings. But the showhas lost interest
for me. l have looked bac of the curtain. Te performances lac sincerity: political intrigue
is the mainspring of the spectacles. Te workers have no part in them except for medanical

obedience to orders: hypocrisy conducts the delegates through the factories: false information
deceives themregarding the actual state of affairs: surveillance prevents their geuing in toud
with the people and learning the truth of the situation. Te delegates are dined, feted, and
influenced to bring their organizations into the fold of the Tird lnternational, under the
leadership of Moscow.
How far it all is from my conception of revolutionary probity and purpose!
Te Communist leaders have become involved in sdemes of political recognition and
are wasting the energies of the Revolution to create an appearance of military strength and
industrial health. Tey have lost sight of the real values underlying the great dange. Te
people sense the false tendencies of the new régime and helplessly see it return to old prac-
tices. Te proletariat is growing disillusioned: it sees its revolutionary conquests sacrified
one by one, the former dampions of liberty become hard rulers, defenders of the existing
régime, and the revolutionary slogans and hopes turn to dying embers.
An atmosphere of embiuered helplessness pervades the circles of the intelligentsia, a
paralyzing sense of their lac of cohesion and energizing purpose. Tey are exhausted by
years of starvation: their mental bases are weakened, the spiritual bonds with the people
Te revolutionists of the len are disorganized, broken by persecution and internal dis-
union. Te stress and storm period has shauered old moorings and set accepted values adrin.
liule of constructive daracter is manifest in the general confusion. Te ruthless hand of life
in the making, more than Bolshevik fiat, has destroyed old forms, creating a daos of things
physical and spiritual. lnstitutions and ideas, thrown into a common heap, rage in primitive
passion and wildly seek to disentangle themselves, desperately clutding at ead other in the
auempt to rise to the surface. And above the shouts and din of the struggling mass, drowning
all other cries, sounds the desperate, ceaseless plea· Bread! Bread!
Moscow is eaten with bureaucracy, Petrograd is a dying city. Not here is the Revolution.
Out in the country, among the common people, one must see new Russia and live its life in
the making.
l have been requested to join the expedition planned by the Museum of the Revolution.
lts purpose is to collect historic material of the revolutionary movement since its inception,
almost a hundred years ago. l had hoped to participate in more constructive labors, but
circumstances and the growing coldness of the Communist auitude exclude me from more
vital work. Te mission of the expedition is non-political, and l have decided to accept the
Chapter 21
En Route to the Ukraina
July, 1920. — Turbulent mobs besiege our train at every station. Soldiers and workers, peas-
ants, women, and dildren, loaded with heavy bags, frantically fight for admission. Yelling
and cursing, they force their way toward the cars. Tey climb through the broken win-
dows, board the bumpers, and crowd upon the steps, reclessly clinging to door handles and
clutding at ead other for support. like maddened ants they cover every ind of space, in
momentary danger of limb and life. lt is a dense, surging human sea moved by the one pas-
sion of securing a foothold on the already moving train. lven the roofs are crowded, the
women and dildren lying flat, the men kneeling or standing up. lrequently at night, the
train passing under a bridge or trestle, scores of them are swept to their death.
At the stations the railroad militia await us. Tey surround a car, drive the passengers
off roof and steps, and proceed to another coad. But the next instant there is a rush and
struggle, and the cleared car is again covered with the human swarm. Onen the militsioneri
resort to arms, firing salvos over the train. But the people are desperate· they had spent days,
even weeks, in procuring “traveling papers” — they are in seard of food or returning with
filled bags to their hungry families. Death from a bullet is no more terrible to them than
With sicening regularity these scenes repeat themselves at every stopping place. lt is
becoming a torture to travel in comparative comfort in our conspicuous-looking car, recently
renovated and painted a bright red, and bearing the inscription, “lxtraordinary Commission
of the Museum of the Revolution.”
Te lxpedition consists of six persons, comprising the secretary, Miss A. Shakol: the trea-
surer, lmma Goldman: the historical “expert” Yakovlev, and his wife: a young Communist,
a student of the Petrograd University: and myself as dairman. Our party also includes the
official provodnik (porter) and Henry Alsberg, the American correspondent, whose friendly
auitude to Russia had secured for him Zinoviev’s permission to accompany us. Our coad is
divided into several coupés, an office, dining room, and a kitden furnished with the linen
and silverware of the Winter Palace, now the headquarters of the Museum.
ln the daytime the people remain at a respectful distance, the inscription on our car evi-
dently creating the impression that it is occupied by the Tdeka, the most dreaded institution
in Russia. But at night, the stations in semi-darkness, we are besieged by throngs clamoring
for accommodation. lt is contrary to our instructions to admit anyone, because of the danger
of having our material stolen, as well as for fear of disease. Te people are vermin-infected:
almost every one traveling in the Ukraina is afflicted with sipnyak, a form of typhus that of-
ten results fatally. Our historian lives in mortal dread of it, and vehemently protests against
receiving outsiders. We compromise by permiuing several old women and cripples to ride
on the platform, and stealthily we feed them from the supplies of our “commune.”
Te population of the districts we are passing through is in a state of disquiet and alarm.
At every station we are warned not to proceed further· the Whites, robber bands, Makhno,
and Wrangel are within gunshot, we are assured. Te atmospherethicens with fear — in-
spiring rumors as we advance southward.
A caldron of seething emotions, life in the South constrasts strikingly with that of the
North. By comparison Moscowand Petrograd appear quiet and orderly. Here all is unformed,
grotesque, daotic. lrequent danges of government, with their accompaniment of civil war
and destruction, have produced a mental and physical condition unknown in other parts of
the country. Tey have created an atmosphere of uncertainty, of life lacing roots, of constant
anxiety. Some parts of the Ukraina have experienced fourteen different régimes within the
period of 1)1¯–1)zc, ead involving violent disturbance of normal existence, disorganizing
and tearing life from its foundations.
Te whole gamut of revolutionary and counterrevolutionary passions has been played
on this territory. Here the nationalistic Rada had fought the local organs of the Kerensky
government till the Brest Treaty opened Southern Russia to German occupation. Prussian
bayonets dissolved the Rada, and Hetman Skoropadsky, by grace of the Kaiser, lorded it over
the country in the name of an “independent and self-determining” people. Disaster on the
Western lront and revolution in their own country compelled the Germans to withdraw, the
new state of affairs giving Petlura victory over the Hetman. Kaleidoscopically danged the
governments. Dictator Petlura and his Directorium were driven out by the rebel peasantry
and the Red Army, the lauer in turn giving way to Denikin. Subsequently the Bolsheviki
became the masters of the Ukraina, soon to be forced bac by the Poles, and then again the
Communists took possession.
Te long-continued military and civil struggles have deranged the entire life of the South.
Social classes have been destroyed, old customs and traditions abolished, cultural barriers
broken down, without the people having been able to adjust themselves to the new condi-
tions, whid are in constant flux. Tere has been neither time nor opportunity to reconstruct
one’s mental and physical mode of life, to orient oneself within the constantly danging en-
Te instincts of hunger and fear have become the sole leitmotif of thought, feeling, and
action. Uncertainty is all-pervading and persistent· it is the only definite, actual reality. Te
question of bread, the danger of auac, are the exclusive topics of interest. You hear stories
of armed forces sacing the environs of the city, and fanciful speculation about the daracter
of the marauders, whom some claim as Whites, others as Greens,' or pogrom bandits. Te
legendary figures of Makhno, Marusya, and Stdooss loom large in the atmosphere of panic
created by the horrors lived through and the still more fearful apprehension of the unknown.
Alarm and dread punctuate the life and thought of the people. Tey permeate the entire
consciousness of being. Characteristic of it, as of the general daos of the situation, is the reply
one receives on inquiring the time of day. lt is indicative of the degree of the informant’s
Bolshevik or opposition sentiments when one is told· “three o’cloc by the old,” “five by the
new,” or “six by the latest,” the Communists having recently ordered, for the third time, the
“saving” of another hour of daylight.
Te whole country resembles a military camp living in constant expectation of inva-
sion, civil war, and sudden dange of government, bringing with it renewed slaughter and
oppression, confiscation, and famine. lndustrial activity is paralyzed, the financial situa-
tion hopeless. lvery régime has issued its own money, interdicting all previous forms of
exdange. But among the people the various “papers” are circulating, including Kerensky,
Tsarist, Ukrainian, and Soviet money. lvery “rouble” has its own, constantly varying value,
so that the market women have to become professors of mathematics —as the people jestingly
say — to find their way in this financial labyrinth.
Beneath the surface of the daily life man’s primitive passions, unleashed, hold almost free
sway. lthical values are dissolved, the gloss of civilization rubbed off. Tere remains only the
unadorned instinct of self-preservation and the ever-present dread of tomorrow. Te victory
of the Whites or the investing of a city by them involves savage reprisals, pogroms against
Jews, death for Communists, prison and torture for those suspected of sympathizing with the
lauer. Te advent of the Bolsheviki signifies indiscriminate Red terror. lither is disastrous: it
has happened many times, and the people live in perpetual fear of its repetition. lnternecine
strife has marded through the Ukraina like a veritable man-eater, devouring, devastating,
and leaving ruin, despair, and horror in its wake. Stories of White and Red atrocities are
on everybody’s lips, accounts of personal experiences harrowing in their recital of fiendish
murder and rapine, of inhuman cruelty and unspeakable outrages.
'Peasant Bands, called Zelyonniy (green) because of their habitat in forests. According to another version the
appellation is derived from the name of one of their leaders.
Chapter 22
First Days in Kharkov
Te work of collecting material is divided among the members of our lxpedition accord-
ing to fitness and inclination. By general consent, and to his own great satisfaction, the
only Communist among us, a very intelligent and idealistic youth, is assigned to visit Party
headquarters. Besides my general duties as Chairman, my domain includes labor unions,
revolutionary organizations, and semi-legal or “underground” bodies.
ln the Soviet institutions, as among the people at large, an intensely nationalistic, even
dauvinistic spirit is felt. To the natives the Ukraina is the only true and real Russia: its
culture, language, and customs superior to those of the North. Tey dislike the “Russian”
and resent the domination of Moscow. Antagonism to the Bolsheviki is general, the hatred
of the Tdeka universal. lven the Communists are incensed over the arbitrary methods of
the Center, and demand greater independence and self-determination. But the policy of the
Kremlin is to put its own men at the head of Ukrainian institutions, and frequently a whole
trainload of Moscow Bolsheviki, including clerks and typists, are dispatded to the South to
take darge of a certain department or bureau. Te imported officials, unfamiliar with the
conditions and psydology of the country, onen even ignorant of its language, apply Moscow
methods and force Moscow views upon the population with the result of alienating even the
friendly disposed elements.
* * *
A July day, with the Southern sun steadily pouring down heat, and the stone pavement
seeming to melt beneath my feet. Te streets are crowded with people in variegated auire,
the play of color pleasing to the eye. Te Ukrainians are beuer clad and nourished than
the people in Petrograd or Moscow. Te, women are strikingly beautiful, with expressive
dark eyes and oval faces, olive skinned. Te men are less prepossessing, onen low-browed
and coarse-featured, the trace of the Mongol evident. Most of the girls, comely and buxom,
are short-skirted and bare-legged: others, well shod but stocingless, present an incongruous
sight. Some wear lapti, a rough wooden sandal that clauers noisily on the pavement. Almost
every one is dewing the popular semetki, dried sunflower seeds, denly ejecting the shell,
and covering the filthy sidewalks with a sheet of whitish gray.
On the corner two boys in worn student uniforms vociferously call the auention of the
passers-by to hot pirozhki, the Russian doughy cake filled with meat or cabbage. A bevy of
young girls, almost dildren, faces powdered, lips crimson, approad the venders.
“What costs the pleasure`” inquires one in a thin, high-pitded voice.
“liny roubles.”
“Oh, you liule speculator,” the girl teases. “Make it deaper for me, won’t you, dear one`”
she coaxes, pressing closer to the boy.
Tree sailors approad, whistling the popular Stenka Razin tune. “What beauties!” one
comments, unceremoniously embracing the girl nearest him.
“Hey, lasses, come with us,” another commands. “Don’t be hanging around those specu-
With ribald laughter the girls join them. Arm in arm they mard down the street.
“Damn those Sovietsky cavaliers,” one of the students rages. “Hot pirozhki, hot! Buying,
who’s buying, tovarishti!”
With considerable difficulty l find the home of Nadya, the len Social Revolutionist, for
whom l have a message from her friends in Moscow. My knoc is answered by an old lady
with kindly face and snow-white hair. “My daughter is at work,” she says, suspiciously
scrutinizing me. “May l know what you wish`”
Reassured by my explanation, she bids me enter, but her manner continues guarded. lt
requires some time before she is convinced of my good intentions, and then she begins to
unburden her heart. She owned the house in whid she now occupies one room together
with her daughter, the rest having been requisitioned by the Soviet Housing Commiuee. “lt
is enough for our modest needs,” the old lady says resignedly, her glance passing over the
small damber containing a single bed, a kitden table, and several wooden dairs. “l have
only Nadya now,” she adds, a tremor in her voice.
“l thank God l have her,” she continues aner a while. “Oh, the terrible times we have
lived through. You will surely not believe it — l’m not finy yet.” She passes her delicate,
thin hand over her white hair. “l don’t know how it is where you come from, but here life
is a koshmar (nightmare). l have grown used to hunger and cold, but the constant fear for
the safety of my dild makes life a torture. But it is a sin to complain,” she crosses herself
devoutly. “Blessed be the lord, for he has len me my daughter.”
ln the course of the conversation l learn that her eldest son was killed by Denikin men:
the youngest, Volodya, a boy of twenty, was shot by the Bolsheviki. She could never find
out the reason. “Te terrible Tdeka,” she sighs, with tears in her eyes. “But the predsedatel
(dairman) was a kind man,” she continues presently: “it was he who saved my liule Nadya.
She had also been doomed to die. Once they took her to the cellar, stark naked — may, God
forgive them! Tey forced her to the floor, face downward. Ten a shot was fired over her
head. Oh, the horror of it! She was told to confess and her life would be saved. But what
could the poor dild confess` She had nothing to tell. lndeed, she wouldn’t if she could, for
Nadenka is like steel. Ten she was sent bac to her cell, and every night she expected to be
taken out and shot, and when she heard a footstep, she would think they were coming for
her. What torture the dild lived through! But it was always someone else they took, and
those never returned. Ten one day the predsedatel sent for her and told her he did not want
her shot, and that she was free to go home. Before that the Tdeka had assured me that my
daughter had been sent to Moscow for trial. And there she stood before me — ah, so pale and
wan, more like a ghost of herself. Glory to the lord for His goodness,” she sobs quietly.
Te door opens and a girl steps in, carrying a bag slung across her shoulders. She is young
and auractive, not over twenty, with her face lit up by blac, shining eyes.
She stops affrighted as her glance falls upon me. “A friend,” l hasten to reassure her,
delivering the message entrusted to me in Moscow. She brightens at once, puts the bag on
the table, and kisses her mother. “We’ll celebrate today, mamenka,” she announces: “l got
my pyo.” She begins sorting the things, calling out deerily, “Herrings, two pounds: half a
pound of soap: one pound of vegetable buuer: a quarter of a pound of tobacco. Tat’s from
the sobezh” (Department of Social Care), she explains, turning to me. “l am employed there,
but the main ‘social care’ is given to the ration,” she says jestingly. “lt’s beuer in quality and
quantity than l receive at the other two places. You know, some of us have to hold three or
even four, positions to make ends meet. Mother and l together receive one and three-quarter
pounds of bread per day, and with this monthly pyo.” and what l get from my other
positions, we manage to live. lsn’t it so, mamenka,?” and she again embraces her mother
“lt would be sinful to complain, my dild,” the old lady replies: “other people are worse
Nadya has preserved her sense of humor, and her silvery laugh frequently punctuates
the conversation. She is mud concerned about the fate of her friends in the North, and
is overjoyed to get direct news of Marusya, as she affectionately calls Maria Spiridonova.
lagerly she listens to the story of my repeated visits to the famous leader of the len Social
Revolutionists, who is now in hiding in Moscow. “l love and worship her,” she declares
impetuously: “she has been the heroine of my life. And to think how the Bolheviki hound
her! Here in the South,” she continues more calmly, “our Party has been almost entirely
liquidated. Te persecution has forced the weaker ones to make peace with the Communists:
some have even joined them. Tose of us who have remained true keep ‘underground.’ Te
Red terror is sudthat activity nowis out of the question. With paper, presses, and everything
else nationalized, we cannot even print a handbill, as we used to do in the time of the Tsar.
Besides, the workers are so cowed, their need so great, they will listen to you only if you
can offer them bread. Moreover, their minds have been poisoned against the intelligentsia.
Te lauer are actually dying of starvation. Here in Kharkov, for instance, they receive six
to seven thousand roubles per month, while a pound of bread costs two to three thousand.
Some wit figured out that the Soviet salary of twenty of the most noted Russian professors
equals — according to the present purdasing power of the rouble — the amount allowed by
the old régime budget for the support of the watddog at the government institutions.”
By the aid of Nadya l am enabled to get in toud with several “irreconcilables” of the
len Social Revolutionists. Te most interesting personality among them is N—, a former
katorzhanin' and later instructor in literature in the People’s University of Kharkov. Recently
he has been disdarged because the political commissar, a Communist youth, considered his
lectures of an anti-Marxian tendency.
“Te Bolsheviki complain that they lac teaders and educators,” N— said, “but in reality
they permit no one to work with them unless he be a Communist or ingratiate himself with
the Communist ‘cell.’ lt is the lauer, the Party unit in every institution, that decides on the
‘reliability’ and fitness — even of professors and teaders.”
“Te Bolsheviki have failed,” he remarked to me on another occasion, “diefly because of
their total intellectual barbarism. Social life, no less than individual, is impossible without
certain ethical and human values. Te Bolsheviki have abolished them, and in their place we
have only the arbitrary will of the Soviet bureaucracy and irresponsible terror.”
N— voices the sentiments of the len Social Revolutionary group, his views fully shared
by his comrades. Te rule of a minority, they agree, is necessarily a despotism based on
oppression and violence. Tus 1c,ccc Spartans governed !cc,ccc Helots, while in the lrend
Revolution !cc,ccc Jacobins sought to control the ¯,ccc,ccc citizens of lrance. Now ¯cc,ccc
Communists have by the same methods enslaved the whole of Russia with its population
of more than 1cc,ccc,ccc. Sud a régime must become the negation of its original source.
Tough born of the Revolution, the offspring of the movement for liberation, it must deny and
pervert the very ideals and aims that gave it birth. ln consequence there is crying inequality
of the new social groups, instead of the proclaimed equality: the stifling of every popular
opinion instead of the promised freedom: violence and terror instead of the expected reign
of brotherhood and love.
Te present situation, N— believes, is the inevitable result of Bolshevik dictatorship. Te
Communists have discredited the ideas and slogans of the Revolution. Tey have started
among the people a counter-revolutionary wave whid is bound to destroy the conquests of
1)1¯. Te strength of the Bolsheviki is in reality insignificant. Tey remain in power only
because of the weakness of their political opponents and the exhaustion of the masses. “But
their Ninth Termidor´ must soon come,” N— concluded with conviction, “and no one will
rise to their defense.”
* * *
Returning late in the evening to the roomassigned me in the home of G—, a former bourgeois,
and finding the bell out of order, l knoced long and persistently without receiving a reply.
l almost despaired of gaining admiuance, when there resounded the clanking of dains, a
heavy bar was lined, someone fumbled with the keys, and at last the door opened before
me. l could see no one about, and a feeling of uneasiness possessed me when suddenly a tall,
slender figure stepped before me, and l recognized the owner of the apartment.
'A political prisoner condemned to hard labor.
´Te fall of Robespiérre — July z¯, 1¯)..
“l did not see you,” l exclaimed in surprise.
“A simple precaution,” he replied, pointing to the nide between the double doors where
he had evidently been hiding.
“One can’t tell these days,” he remarked nervously· ‘they’ have the habit of visiting us
unexpectedly. l can slip through,” he added significantly.
l invited him to my room, and we talked until early morning. G—’s story proved a most
interesting page from the recent life of Russia. He formerly lived in Petrograd, where he was
employed as a medanical engineer in the Putilov Mills, his brother-in-law serving as his
assistant. Neither of them participated in Politics, all their time being devoted to their work.
One morning Petrograd was stirred by the killing of Uritsky, the head of the Tdeka. G— and
his brother-in-law had never before heard of Kannegisser, who commiued the deed, yet both
were arrested together with several hundred other bourgeois. His brother-in-law was shot
— by mistake, as the Tdeka later admiued, his name resembling that of a distant relative, a
former officer in the Tsar’s army. Te wife of the executed, G—’s sister, learning of the fate
of her husband, commiued suicide. G— himself was released, then rearrested, and sent to
forced labor in Vologda as a bourzhooi.
“lt happened so unexpectedly,” he related, “they did not even give us time to take a few
things along. lt was a windy, cold day, in October, 1)1s. l was crossing the Nevsky on my way
home from work, when all at once l realized that the whole district was surrounded by the
military and Tdekists. lvery one was detained. Tose who could not produce a Communist
membership card or a document proving themselves Soviet employees were arrested. Te
women also, though they were released in the morning. Unfortunately l had len my portfolio
at my office, with all my papers in it. Tey would not listen to explanations or give me a
dance to communicate with any one. Within forty-eight hours, all the men were transported
to Vologda. My family — my dear wife and three dildren — remained in complete ignorance
of my fate.” G— paused. “Shall we have some tea`” he asked, trying to hide his emotion.
As he continued, l learned that together with several hundred other men, almost all
alleged bourgeois, G— was kept in the Vologda prison for several weeks, being treated as
dangerous criminals and finally ordered to the front. Tere they were divided into working
parties of ten, on the principle of collective responsibility· should one member of the party
escape, the other nine would forfeit their lives.
Te prisoners had to dig trendes, build barracs for the soldiers, and lay roads. Onen
they were forced to expose themselves to the fire of the lnglish, to save madine guns deserted
by the Red Army during the fight. Tey could be kept, according to Soviet decree, only three
months at the front, yet they were forced to remain till the end of the campaign. lxposed to
danger, cold, and hunger, without warm clothing in the raw winter of the North, the ranks
of the men thinned daily, to be filled by new parties of forced labor collected in a similar
Aner a few months G— fell ill. By the aid of a military surgeon, a draned medical student
whom he had known before, he succeeded in being returned home. But when he readed
Petrograd, he failed to locate his family. All the bourgeois tenants of his house had been
ejected, to make place for workers: he could find no trace of his wife and dildren. laid low
by fever acquired on the front, G— was sent to a hospital. Te physicians held out liule hope
of recovery, but the determination to find his family rekindled the dying embers of life, and
aner four weeks G— len his sic bed.
He had just started his seard again when he received an order mobilizing him, as an
engineer, to a madine factory on the Ural. His efforts to secure delay proved fruitless. lriends
promised to continue looking for his loved ones, and he departed for the last. Tere he
applied himself conscientiously to the work, making the necessary repairs, so that the factory
could presently begin operations. Aner a while he asked permission to return home, but he
was informed that he would go as a prisoner, the political commissar having denounced him
for “unfriendly disposition” toward the Bolsheviki. G— was arrested and sent to Moscow.
When he readed the capital, he found a darge of sabotage against him. He succeeded in
proving the falsity of the accusation, and aner four months of imprisonment he was released.
But the experience so affected him that he suffered two successive auacs of “returning”
typhus, from whid he emerged entirely unfit for work. He secured permission to visit his
relatives in Kharkov where he hoped to recuperate. Tere, to his great joy, quite unexpectedly,
he found his family. Tey had long thought him dead, their inquiries and numerous leuers
having remained unanswered. Reunited with his wife and dildren, G— remained in the
city, having received a position in a local institution. He finds life in Kharkov mud more
bearable, though the Communist campaign against the intellectuals constantly rouses the
people against them.
“Te Bolsheviki have turned the intelligentsia into a class of hunted animals,” G— said.
“We are looked upon as even worse than the bourgeoisie. As a mauer of fact, we are mud
worse off than the lauer, for they usually have ‘connections’ in influential places, and most
of them still possess some of the wealth they had hidden. Tey can speculate: yes, even grow
rid, while we of the professional class have nothing. We are doomed to slow starvation.”
Snatdes of song and music readed us from across the street, coming apparently from
the house opposite, its windows flooded with light. “One of the Tdeka commissars,” my
host answered my questioning look. “By the way, a curious incident happened to me,” he
continued, smiling sadly. “Te other day l met that Tdekist. Something about him auracted
my auention — a peculiar sense of the familiar that l could not account for. Suddenly it
dawned on me — that new dark-brown suit he wore, why, it was mine! Tey took it from
me in the last house raid, two weeks ago. ‘lor the proletariat,’ they said.”
Chapter 23
In Soviet Institutions
Petrovsky, Chairman of the All-Ukrainian Central lxecutive Commiuee, the supreme gov-
ernment body of the South, sat at his desk busy over a pile of documents. A middle-aged man
of medium stature, his typical Ukrainian face is framed in a blac beard, lit up by intelligent
eyes and a winning smile. A peasant-Communist appointed by Moscow to high office, he
has remained democratic and simple in manner.
learning the mission of our lxpedition, Petrovsky evinced the greatest interest. “l am
heartily in sympathy with it,” he said: “it’s splendid, this idea of collecting the material of
our great Revolution for the information of the present and future generations. l’ll help you
all l can. Here, in the Ukraina, you will find a wealth of documents, covering all the political
danges we have had since 1)1¯. Of course,” he continued, “we have not readed the well-
organized and ordered condition of Russia. Te development of our country has been quite
different, and since 1)1s we have been living in constant turmoil. lt’s only two months ago
that we have driven the Poles out of Kiev — but we have driven them out for good,” he
laughed heartily.
“Yes, we drove them out for good,” he repeated aner a while. “But we must do more:
we must tead the cursed Poles a lesson — the Polish pani (masters), l mean,” he corrected
himself. “Our good Red Army is almost at the gates of Warsaw now. Te Polish proletariat
are ready to throw off the yoke of their oppressors: they are only waiting for us to give them
a helping hand. We expect the Revolution to break out there any day,” he concluded in a
confidential way, “and then Soviet Poland will combine federatively with Soviet Russia, as
Ukraina has done.”
“Don’t you think sud an aggressive policy may produce a harmful effect`” l asked.
“Treatened invasion may serve to arouse patriotic ardor.”
“Pooh-pooh!” the Chairman laughed. “You evidently don’t know the revolutionary tem-
per of the Polish workers. Te whole country is on fire. Te Red Army will be received ‘with
bread and salt,’ as our saying is — be given a hearty welcome.”
Te conversation turned to the situation in the South. Te work of organizing Soviet
conditions, Petrovsky said, is progressing very satisfactorily in the districts evacuated by the
Poles. As to the economic situation, the Ukraina used to be the great bread-giver of Russia, but
the farmers have suffered mudfromconfiscation and robbery by the White forces. However,
the peasants have learned that only under the Communists they are secure in the enjoyment
of their land. lt is true, many of them are kulaki; that is, rid farmers who resent sharing their
surplus with the Red Army and the workers. Tey and the numerous counter-revolutionary
bands make the work of the Soviet Government very difficult. Makhno, in particular, is a
source of mud trouble. But the Greens and other bandits are being gradually liquidated,
and before long Makhno also will be eliminated. Te Government has decreed merciless war
against these Soviet enemies, and the peasantry is aiding in its efforts.”
“You must have surely heard in Russia about Makhno,” Petrovsky remarked, giving me a
searding look. “Many legends have grown around his name, and to some he appears almost
a heroic figure. But here in the Ukraina you will learn the truth about him. Just a robber
ataman, that’s all he is. Under the mask of Anardism he conducts raids upon villages and
towns, destroys railroad communications, and takes a fiendish delight in murdering commis-
sars and Communists. But before long we shall terminate his activities.”
Girl clerks kept coming in, bringing documents, and answering telephone calls. Most
of them were barefoot, while some wore new, high-heeled shoes without hosiery. lrom
time to time the Chairman interrupted the conversation to glance at the papers, puuing his
signature to some and referring others to the secretary. But he seemed eager to continue our
talk, dwelling on the difficult problems presented by the Ukraina, the steps taken to assure
greater production of coal, the reorganization of the railways, and the clearing of the labor
unions of anti-Soviet influences.
He spoke unaffectedly, in the language of the workingman whose native intelligence
has been sharpened by experience in the sdool of life. His conception of Communism is
a simple mauer of a strong government and determination to execute its will. lt is not a
question of experimentation or idealistic possibilities. His picture of a Bolshevik society has
no shadows. A powerful central authority, consistently carrying out its policies, would solve
all problems, he believes. Opposition must be eliminated: disturbing elements and inciters
of the peasantry against the Soviet régime, sud as Makhno, crushed. At the same time the
work of the polit-prosvet (political education) should be broadened: the youth, especially,
must be trained to regard the Bolsheviki as the revolutionary advance guard of humanity.
On the whole, Communism is a problem of right bookkeeping, as lenin had truly said: of
taking an invoice of the country’s wealth, actual and potential, and arranging for its equalized
Te subject of peasant dissatisfaction kept returning in our conversation. Te povstantsi
(armed rebel peasantry), Petrovsky admiued, had played a vital part in the Revolution. Tey
repeatedly saved the Ukraina, and even Russia, at most critical moments. By guerrilla warfare
they disorganized and demoralized the Austro-German forces, and prevented their marding
on Moscowand suppressing the Soviet régime. Tey defeated the lnterventionist auacin the
South, by resisting and routing the lrend and ltalian divisions that were landed by the Allies
in Odessa with the intention of supporting the nationalistic Directoriurn in Kiev. Tey fought
Denikin and other White generals, and were largely instrumental in making the victories of
the Red Army possible. But some povstantsi elements have now joined the Green and other
bands operating against the Communists. Tey also comprise the greater part of the Makhno
forces, possessing even madine guns and artillery. Makhno is particularly dangerous. At
one time he had served in the Red Army: but he mutinied, opening the front to Denikin, for
whid treadery he was outlawed by Trotsky. Since then Makhno has been fighting against
the Bolsheviki and helping the enemies of the Revolution.
lrom the adjoining office, occupied by Petrovsky’s secretary, loud talking and a woman’s
hysterical voice kept disturbing our conversation. “What is going on there, l wonder,” the
Chairman exclaimed at last, stepping to the door. As he opened it, a young peasant woman
rushed toward him, throwing herself at his feet.
“Save us, liule lather!” she cried. “Have mercy!”
Petrovsky helped her up. “What is the mauer`” he asked kindly.
Amid sobs she related that her husband, home on furlough from the Army, had gone to
Kharkov to visit his sic mother. Tere he was arrested in a street raid as a labor deserter.
He could not prove his identity, because he had been robbed on his way to the city: all his
documents and money were gone. He sent word to her about his misfortune: but by the time
she readed the city she learned that her husband had been taken away with a party of other
prisoners. Since then she failed to find out anything more about him. “Oh, liule lather,
they’ve sure shot him,” she wailed, “and he a Red Army man who fought Denikin.”
Petrovsky sought to calm the distracted woman. “Nothing will happen to your husband,”
he assured her, “if he can prove himself a soldier.”
“But they’ve already taken himaway somewhere,” she moaned, “and they shoot deserters.
Oh, good lord, have mercy on me!”
Te Chairman questioned the woman, and then, apparently convinced of the truth of her
story, he ordered the secretary to supply her with a “paper” to aid in her seard. She grew
quieter, and then impulsively kissed Petrovsky’s hand, calling upon the saints to “bless the
kind commissar.”
* * *
At labor union headquarters l found a flow of humanity surging through the corridors. Men,
women, and dildren crowded the offices and filled the hallways with shouting and tobacco
smoke. A bedraggled assembly it was — poorly nourished and clad: calico kerdiefs worn by
the women, the men in thic-soled wooden lapti, the dildren mostly barefoot. lor hours they
stood in line, discussing their troubles. Teir wages, they complained, though continuously
increased, do not keep step with the rising price of food. A week’s labor is not enough to
purdase two pounds of bread. Moreover, three months’ pay is due them· the government
has failed to supply enough money. Te Soviet distributing centers are short of provisions:
one has to look out for himself, or starve. Some have come to ask for a ten days’ release from
work and permission to visit their folks in the country. Tere they would get a few pounds
of flour or a sac of potatoes to tide· the family over for a liule while. But it is difficult to
secure sud a privilege· the new decrees bind the worker to the factory, as in the days of old
the peasants were dained to the soil. Yet the village is their only hope.
Others have come to enlist the help of their labor organization in locating lost brothers,
fathers, husbands, suddenly disappeared — no doubt taken in the frequent raids as military
or labor deserters. Tey had vainly sought information at the various bureaus: maybe the
union will help.
Aner long waiting l gained admission to the Secretary of the Soviet of labor Unions. He
proved to be a young man not over twenty-three, with quic, intelligent eyes and nervous
manner. Te Chairman had been called away to a special conference, the Secretary informed
me, but he would aid our mission as far as possible. He doubted, however, that we would
find mud valuable material in the city. Most of it had been neglected or destroyed — there
had been no time to think of sud mauers in the intense revolutionary days Kharkov had
passed through. But whatever records could be found, he would order them turned over to
me. Beuer yet, he would supply me with a circular leuer to the secretaries of the local unions,
and l could personally select the material l needed, leaving copies of the same in the ardives.
Te Secretary himself could give me liule information about labor conditions in the city
and province, as he had only recently assumed darge of his office. “l am not a local man,” he
said: “l was sent from Moscow only a few weeks ago. You see, Comrade,” he explained, evi-
dently assuming my membership in the Communist Party, “it became necessary to liquidate
the whole management of the Soviet and of most of the unions. At their heads were Menshe-
viki. Tey conducted the organization on the principle of alleged protection of the workers’
interests. Protection against whom`” he raged. “You understand how counter-revolutionary
sud a conception is! Just a Menshevik cloak to further their opposition to us. Under capital-
ism, the union is destructive of bourgeois interests: but with us, it is constructive. Te labor
bodies must work hand in hand with the government: in fact, they are the actual govern-
ment, or one of its vital parts. Tey must serve as sdools of Communism and at the same
time carry out in industry the will of the proletariat as expressed by the Soviet Government.
Tis is our policy, and we shall eliminate every opposition.”
A dark, heavy-set man of medium stature walked quicly into the office, casting a ques-
tioning look at me. “A comrade from the center,” the Secretary introduced me, “sent to collect
data on the Revolution. Tis is our predsedatel,” he explained.
Te Chairman of the labor Soviet shook hands with me hastily· “You will excuse me,”
he said, “we are just swamped with work. l had to leave the session of the wage commission
before it closed, because l have been phoned to auend an important conference of our Party
Commiuee. Te Mensheviki have declared a hunger strike in prison, and we are to take
action on the mauer.”
As we stepped out of the office, the Chairman was beset by a clamoring crowd. “Dear
tovarisht, just a minute please,” an old worker pleaded: “my brother is down with typhus,
and l can’t get any medicine for him.”
“When will we be paid` Tree months is due us,” another urged.
“Go to your own union,” the predsedatel advised him.
“But l’ve just come from there.”
“l haven’t time, tovarisht, l haven’t time now,” the dairman kept repeating to the right
and len, gently forcing his way through the crowd.
“Oh, liule lather,” a woman screamed, grabbing him by the arm. lt was the young
peasant l had met in Petrovsky’s office. “Has my husband been shot`”
Te Chairman looked bewildered. “Who is your husband`” he demanded.
“A Red Army man, tovarisht. Taken in a street raid for a labor deserter.”
“A deserter! Tat’s bad.” Reading the street, and waving his hand to me, the predsedatel
jumped into his waiting automobile, and was driven away.
Chapter 24
Yossif the Emigrant
A short, slender man of thirty, with lustrous dark eyes set wide apart, and a face of peculiar
sadness. Te expression of his eyes still haunts me· now mournful, now irate, they reflect
all the tragedy of his Jewish descent. His smile speaks the kindliness of a heart that has
suffered and learned to understand. Te thought kept running through my mind, as he was
relating his experiences in the Revolution, that it was his patient, winsome smile whid had
conquered the brutality of his persecutors.
l had known him in America, him and his friend lea, a sweet-faced girl of unusual self-
control and determination. Both had for years been active in the radical movement in the
United States, but the call of the Revolution brought them bac to their native land in the
hope of helping in the great task of liberation. Tey worked with the Bolsheviki against
Kerensky and the Provisional Government, and coöperated with them in the stormy October
days, whid“gave so mudpromise of a rainbow,” as the lmigrant remarked sorrowfully. But
soon the Communists began to suppress the other revolutionary parties, and Yossif went with
lea to the Ukraina, where they aided in organizing the Southern Confederation of Anardist
Groups under the name of the Nabat (Alarm).
As the “lmigrant,” his pen name in the “Nabat,” the organ of the Confederation, Yossif is
widely known in the South and is mud loved for his idealism and sunny disposition. lner-
getic and active, he is tireless in his labors among the Ukrainian peasantry, and everywhere
he is the soul and inspiration of proletarian circles.
l have repeatedly visited him and his friends in the Anardist bookstore Volnoye Bratstvo
(lree Brotherhood). Tey have witnessed the numerous political danges in the Ukraina,
have suffered imprisonment by the Whites, and have been maltreated by Denikin soldiers.
“We are hounded no less by the Bolsheviki,” the lmigrant said: “we never know what they
will do to us. One day they arrest us, and close our club and bookstore: at other times they
leave us alone. We never feel safe: they keep us under constant surveillance. ln this they
have a great advantage over the Whites: under the lauer we could work underground, but
the Communists know almost everyone of us personally, for we always stood shoulder to
shoulder with them against counter-revolution.”
Te lmigrant, whom l had formerly known as a most peace-loving man, surprised me by
his militant enthusiasm regarding Makhno, whom he familiarly calls Nestor. He spent mud
time with the lauer, and he regards him as a thorough Anardist, who is fighting reaction
from the len as well as from the Right. Yossif was active in Makhno’s camp as educator and
teader: he shared the daily life of the povstantsi, and accompanied them as a non-combatant
on their campaigns. He is deeply convinced that the Bolsheviki have betrayed the people.
“As long as they were revolutionary we coöperated with them,” he said: “the fact is, we
Anardists did some of the most responsible and dangerous work all through the Revolution.
ln Kronstadt, on the Blac Sea, in the Ural and Siberia, everywhere we gave a good account
of ourselves. But as soon as the Communists gained power, they began eliminating all the
other revolutionary elements, and now we are entirely outlawed. Yes, the Bolsheviki,those
ard-revolutionists, have outlawed us,” he repeated biuerly.
“Could not some way of reapproadment be found`” l suggested, referring to my inten-
tion of broading the mauer to Rakovsky, the lenin of the Ukraina.
“No, it’s too late,” Yossif replied positively. “We’ve tried it repeatedly, but every time the
Bolsheviki broke their promises and exploited our agreements only to demoralize our ranks.
You must understand that the Communist Party has now become a fullfledged government,
seeking to impose its rule upon the people and doing it by the most drastic methods. Tere
is no more hope of turning the Bolsheviki into revolutionary dannels. Today they are the
worst enemies of the Revolution, far more dangerous than the Denikins and Wrangels, whom
the peasantry know as sud. Te only hope of Russia now is in the forcible overthrow of the
Communists by a new uprising of the people.”
“l see no evidence of sud a possibility,” l objected.
“Te whole peasantry of the South is biuerly opposed to them,” Yossif replied, “but, of
course, we must turn their blind hatred into conscious rebellion. ln this regard l consider
Makhno’s povstanisi movement as a most promising beginning of a great popular upheaval
against the new tyranny.”
“l have heard many conflicting stories about Makhno,” l remarked. “He is painted either
as a devil or as a saint.”
Yossif smiled. “lver since l learned that you are in Russia,” he said earnestly, “l have been
hoping you would come here.” ln a lowered voice he added· “Te best way to find out the
truth about Makhno would be to investigate for yourself.”
l looked at him questioningly. We were alone in the bookstore, save for a young woman
who was busying herself at the shelves. Yossif’s eyes wandered to the street, and his look
rested on two men conversing on the sidewalk. “Tdeka,” he declared laconically, “always
sneaking around here.”
“l have something to propose to you,” he continued, “but we must find a safer place.
Tomorrow evening l shall have several comrades meet you. Come to the data — ,” he
named a summer house occupied by a friend, “but be careful you are not followed.”
At the data, situated in a park in the environs of the city, l found a number of Yossif’s
friends. Tey felt safe in that retreat, they averred: but the hunted look did not leave them,
and they spoke in lowered voices. Someone remarked that the occasion reminded him of his
university days, in the time of Nidolas ll, when the students used to gather in the woods
to discuss forbidden political questions. “Tings have not danged in that respect,” he added
“lncomparably worse in every regard,” a dark-featured Ukrainian remarked emphatically.
“Don’t take him literally,” smiled Yossif, “he is our inveterate pessimist.”
“l do mean it literally,” the Ukrainian persisted. “Tere isn’t enough len of the Revolution
to make a figleaf for Bolshevik nakedness. Russia has never before lived under sud absolute
despotism. Socialism, Communism, indeed! Never had we less liberty and equality than
today. We have merely exdanged Nidolas for llyitd.”
“You see only the forms,” put in a young man introduced as the Poet: “but there is an
essence in the present Russia that escapes you. Tere is a spiritual revolution whid is the
symbol and the germ of a new Kultur. lor every Kultur,” he continued, “is an organic whole
of manifold realization: it is the knowing of something in connection with something else. ln
other words, consciousness. Te highest expression of sud Kultur is man’s consciousness of
self, as a spiritual being, and in Russia today this Kultur is being born.” “l can’t follow your
mysticism,” the Pessimist retorted. “Where do you see this resurrection`”
“lt is not a resurrection: it is a new birth,” the Poet replied thoughtfully. “Russia is not
made up of revolutionists and counter-revolutionists only. Tere are others, in all walks of
life, and they are sic of all political dogmas. Tere are millions of consciousnesses that are
painfully struggling toward new criteria of reality. ln their souls they have lived through
the tremendous collision of life and death: they have died and come to life again. Tey have
auained to new values. ln them is the coming dawn of the new Russian Kultur.”
“Ah, the Revolution is dead,” remarked a short, smooth-shaven man of middle age, in a
Red Army uniform. “When l think of the October days and the mighty enthusiasm whid
swept the country, l realize to what depths we have sunk. Ten was liberty, indeed, and
brotherhood. Why, the joy of the people was sud, strangers kissed ead other on the high-
ways. And even later, when l fought against the Czedo-Slovaks on the Ural, the Army was
inspired. lad felt himself a free man defending the Revolution that was his. But when we
returned from the front, we found the Bolsheviki proclaimed themselves dictators over us, in
the name of their Party. lt’s dead, our Revolution,” he concluded, with a deep sigh.
“You are wrong, my friend,” Yossif protested. “Te Bolsheviki have indeed retarded the
progress of the Revolution and they are trying to destroy it altogether, to secure their political
power. But the spirit of the Revolution lives, in spite of them. Mard, 1)1¯, was only the
revolutionary honeymoon, the lisping of lovers. lt was clean and pure, but it was inarticulate,
impotent. Te real passion was yet to come. October sprang from the womb of Russia itself.
True, the Bolsheviki have turned Jesuits, but the Revolution has accomplished mud — it has
destroyed capitalism and undermined the principles of private ownership. ln its concrete
expression today Bolshevism is a system of the most ruthless despotism. lt has organized a
socialistic slavery. Yet, notwithstanding, l declare that the Russian Revolution lives. lor the
leaders and the present forms of Bolshevism are a temporary element. Tey are a morbid
spasm in the general process. Te paroxysm will pass: the healthy revolutionary essence
will remain. lverything that is good and valuable in human history was always born and
developed in the atmosphere of evil and corruption, mixing and interweaving with it. Tat
is the fate of every struggle for liberty. lt also applies to Russia today, and it is our mission
to give aid and strength to the fine and the true, the permanent, in that struggle.”
“l suppose that’s why you are so partial to Makhno,” put in the Red Army man.
“Makhno represents the real spirit of October,” Yossif replied with warmth. “ln the revo-
lutionary povstantsi, whom he leads, is the sole hope of the country. Te Ukrainian peasant
is an instinctive Anardist, and his experience has taught him that all governments are essen-
tially alike — taking everything from him and giving nothing in return. He wants to be rid
of them: to be len alone to arrange his own life and affairs. He will fight the new tyranny.”
“Tey are kulaki with peuy bourgeois ideas of property,” retorted the Pessimist.
“Tere is sud an element,” Yossif admiued, “but the great majority are not of that type.
As to the Makhno movement, it offers the greatest field for propaganda. Nestor, himself
an Anardist, affords us the fullest opportunity to work in his army, even to the extent of
supplying us with printed material and madinery for the publication of our newspapers
andleaflets. Te territory occupied by Makhno is the only place where liberty of speed and
press prevails.”
“But not for Communists,” retorted the soldier.
“Makhno justly considers the Communists as mudcounter-revolutionary as the Whites,”
replied Yossif. “But for the revolutionists — for Anardists, Maximalists, and len Social
Revolutionists — there is full liberty of action in the povstantsi districts.”
Makhno may call himself an Anardist,” spoke up M—, an lndividualist Anardist, “but
l disagree entirely with Yossif about the significance of his movement. l consider his ‘army’
merely an enlarged band of rebel peasants without revolutionary purpose or consciousness.”
“Tey have been guilty of brutality and pogroms,” added the Pessimist.
“Tere have been excesses,” Yossif replied, “just as they happen in every army, the Com-
munist not excepted. But Nestor is merciless toward those guilty of Jew-baiting. Most of
you have read his numerous proclamations against pogroms, and you know how severely
he punishes sud things. l remember, for instance, the incident at Verkhny Takmar. lt was
daracteristic. lt happened about a year ago, on the .th or ¯th of May, 1)1) Makhno, accom-
panied by several members of his military staff, was on his way fromthe front to Gulyai-Pole,
his headquarters, for a conference with the special Soviet emissaries sent from Kharkov. At
the station of Verkhny Takmar Nestor noticed a large poster reading· ‘Kill the Jews! Save
Russia! long live Makhno!’ Nestor sent for the station master. ‘Who put up that poster`’
he demanded. ‘l did,’ replied the official, a peasant who had been in fights against Denikin.
Without another word Makhno shot him. Tat’s the way Nestor treats Jew baiters,” Yossif
“l have beard many stories of atrocities and pogroms commiued by Makhno units,” l
“Tey are lies willfully spread by the Bolsheviki,” Yossif asserted. “Tey hate Nestor
worse than they do Wrangel. Trotsky once said that it were beuer the Ukraina were taken
by Denikin than to allow Makhno to continue there. With reason· for the savage rule of the
Tsarist generals would soon turn the peasantry against them and thus enable the Bolsheviki
to defeat them, while the spread of Makhnovstina, as the Makhno movement is known,
with its Anardist ideas threatens the whole Bolshevik system. Te pogroms ascribed to
Makhno upon investigation always prove to have been commiued by the Greens or other
bandits. Te fact is, Makhno and his staff keep up a continuous agitation against religious
and nationalistic superstitions and prejudices.”
Tough radically differing concerning the daracter and significance of the Makhnovstina,
those present agreed that Nestor himself is a unique figure and one of the most outstanding
personalities on the revolutionary horizon. To his admirer Yossif, however, he typifies the
spirit of Revolution as it expresses itself in the feeling, thought, and life of the rebel peasantry
of the Ukraina.
Chapter 25
Nestor Makhno
Greatly interested in the personality and activities of Makhno, l induced Yossif to sketd his
story in its essential features.
Born of very poor parents in the village of Gulyai-Pole (county of Alexandrovsk, province
of Yekaterinoslav, Ukraina), Nestor spent a sunless dildhood. His father died early, leaving
five small boys to the care of the mother. Already at the tender age of eight young Makhno
had to help eke out an existence for the family. ln the winter months he auended sdool,
while in the summer he was “hired out” to take care of the rid peasants’ caule. When not
yet twelve years old, he went to work in the neighboring estates, where brutal treatment
and thankless labor taught him to hate his hard taskmasters and the Tsarist officials who
always sided against the poor. Te Revolution of 1)c¯ brought Makhno, then only sixteen, in
toud with socialist ideas. Te movement for human emancipation and well-being quicly
appealed to the intense and imaginative boy, and presently he joined the liule group of young
peasant Anardists in his village.
ln 1)cs, arrested for revolutionary activities, Makhno was tried and condemned to death.
Because of his youth, however, and the efforts of his energetic mother, the sentence was sub-
sequently commuted to penal servitude for life. He spent seven years in the Butirki prison in
Moscow, where his rebellious spirit continually involved him in difficulties with the author-
ities. Most of the time he was kept in solitary confinement, dained hand and foot. But he
employed his leisure to good advantage: he read omnivorously, being particularly interested
in political economy, history, and literature. Released by the lebruary Revolution, he re-
turned to his native place, a convinced Anardist, mud ripened by years of suffering, study,
and thought.
Te only liberated political in the village, Makhno immediately became the center of
revolutionary work. He organized a labor commune and the first Soviet in his district, and
systematically encouraged the peasants in their resistance to the big landowners. When the
Austro-German forces occupied the country, and Hetman Skoropadsky by their aid sought to
stifle the growing agrarian rebellion, Makhno was one of the first to form military units for
the defense of the Revolution. Te movement grew quicly, involving ever larger territory.
Te recless courage and guerrilla tactics of the povstantsi brought panic to the enemy, but
the people regarded them as their friends and defenders. Makhno’s fame spread: he became
the avenging angel of the lowly, and presently he was looked upon as the great liberator
whose coming had been prophesied by Pugatdev in his dying moments.'
Continued German oppression and the tyranny of the home masters resulted in the or-
ganization of povstantsi units throughout the Ukraina. Some of them joined Makhno, whose
forces soon readed the size of an army, well provisioned and clad, and supplied with ma-
dine guns and artillery. His troops consisted mostly of peasants, many of whom returned to
their fields to follow their usual occupations when their district was temporarily freed from
the enemy. But at the first sign of danger there would issue Nestor’s call, and the farmers
would leave their homes to shoulder the gun and join their beloved leader, upon whomthey
bestowed the honored and affectionate title of bat’ka (father).
Te spirit of Makhnovstina swept the whole southern Ukraina. ln the northwest there
were also numerous povstantsi units, fighting against the foreign invaders and White gen-
erals, but without any clear social consciousness and ideal. Makhno, however, assumed
the blac flag of the Russian Anardists as his emblem, and announced a definite program·
autonomous communes of free peasants: the negation of all government, and complete self-
determination based on the principle of labor. lree Soviets of peasants and workers were to
be formed of delegates in contra-distinction to the Bolshevik Soviets of deputies: that is, to
be informative and executive instead of authoritarian.
Te Communists appreciated the unique military genius of Makhno, but they also real-
ized the danger to their Party dictatorship from the spread of Anardist ideas. Tey sought
to exploit his forces in their own interests, while at the same time intent upon destroying the
essential quality of the movement. Because of Makhno’s remarkable success against the oc-
cupation armies and counter-revolutionary generals, the Bolsheviki proposed to him to join
the Red Army, preserving for his povstantsi units their autonomy. Makhno consented, and
his troops became the Tird Brigade of the Red Army, later officially known as the lirst Rev-
olutionary povstantsi Ukrainian Division. But the hope of the Bolsheviki to absorb the rebel
peasants in the Red Army failed. ln the Makhno territory the influence of the Communists
remained insignificant, and they found themselves even unable to support their institutions
there. Under various pretexts they interdicted the conferences of the povstantsi and outlawed
Makhno, hoping thus to alienate the peasantry from him.
But whatever the relations between the Bolsheviki and Makhno, the lauer always came
to the rescue of the Revolution when it was threatened by the Whites. He fought every
counter-revolutionary enemy who sought to establish his rule over the Ukraina, including
Hetman Skoropadsky, Petlura, and Denikin. He eliminated Grigoriev, who had at one time
served the Communists and then betrayed them. But the Bolsheviki, fearing the spirit of
Makhnovstina, continually tried to disorganize and disperse its forces, and even set a price
on Makhno’s head, as Denikin had done. Repeated Communist treadery finally brought a
'Old tradition. Yemilian Pugatdev, leader of the great peasant and Cossac uprising under Catherine ll, was
executed in 1¯¯¯.
complete rupture, and compelled Makhno to fight the Communists as biuerly as the reac-
tionists of the Right.
Yossif’s story was interrupted by the arrival of the friends whom l had met at the data
on the previous occasion. Several hours were spent in discussing mauers of Anardist orga-
nization, the difficulty of activity in the face of Bolshevik persecution, and the increasingly
reactionary auitude of the Communist Government. But, as usual in the Ukraina, the subject
gradually converged upon Makhno. Someone read excerpts from the official Soviet press bit-
terly auacing and vilifying Nestor. Tough the Bolsheviki formerly extolled him as a great
revolutionary leader, they now painted him as a bandit and counter-revolutionary. But the
peasants of the South — Yossif felt confident — love Makhno too well to be alienated from
him. Tey know him as their truest friend: they look upon him as one of their own. Tey
realize that he does not seek power over them, as do the Bolsheviki no less than Denikin. lt
is Makhno’s custom upon taking a city or town to call the people together and announce to
them that henceforth they are free to organize their lives as they think best for themselves.
He always proclaims complete freedom of speed and press: he does not fill the prisons or
begin executions, as the Communists do. ln fact, Nestor considers jails useless to a liberated
“lt is difficult to say who is right or wrong in this conflict between the Bolsheviki and
Makhno,” remarked the Red Army man. “Trotsky darges Makhno with having willfully
opened the front to Denikin, while Makhno claims that his retreat was caused by Trotsky
purposely failing to supply his division with ammunition at a critical period. Yet it is true
that Makhno’s activities against Denikin’s rear, especially by cuuing the White Army off
from its artillery base, enabled the Bolsheviki to stem the advance on Moscow.”
“But Makhno refused to join the campaign against the Poles,” the Pessimist objected.
“Rightly so,” Yossif replied. “Trotsky’s order sending Makhno’s forces to the Polish front
was meant only to eliminate Nestor from his own district and then bring the lauer under the
control of the commissars, in the absence of its defenders. Makhno saw through the sdeme
and protested against it.”
“Te fact is,” the Pessimist persisted, “that the Communists and the Makhnovtsi are doing
their best to exterminate ead other. Both sides are guilty of the greatest brutalities and
atrocities. lt seems to me Makhno has no object sa ve Bolshevik-killing.”
“You are pitifully blind,” retorted Yasha, an Anardist holding a high position in a Soviet
institution, “if you can’t see the great revolutionary meaning of the Makhnovstdina. lt is the
most significant expression of the whole Revolution. Te Communist Party is only a political
body, auempting — successfully indeed — to create a new master class over the producers,
a Socialist rulership. But the Makhno movement is the expression of the toilers themselves.
lt’s the first great mass movement that by its own efforts seeks to free itself from government
and establish economic self-determination. ln that sense it is thoroughly Anardistic.”
“But Anardism cannot be established by military force,” l remarked.
“Of course not,” Yossif admiued. “Nor does Nestor pretend to do so. ‘l’m just clearing the
field,’ — that’s what he always tells the comrades visiting him. ‘l’m driving out the rulers,
White and Red,’ he says, ‘and it’s up to you to take advantage of the opportunity. Agitate,
propagate your ideals. Help to release and to apply the creative forces of the Revolution.’
Tat is Nestor’s view of the situation.”
“lt is a great mistake that most of our people stay away from Makhno,” Yasha declared.
“Tey remain in Moscow or Petrograd, and what are they accomplishing` Tey can do noth-
ing but fill Bolshevik prisons. With the povstantsi we have an exceptional dance of popu-
larizing our views and helping the people to build a new life.”
“As for myself,” announced Yossif, “l am convinced that the Revolution is dead in Russia.
Te only place where it still lives is the Ukraina. Here it holds out a rid promise to us,” he
added confidently. “What we should do is to join Nestor, all of us who want to be active.
“l disagree,” the Pessimist objected.
“He always disagrees when there is work to be done,” Yossif retorted with the inimitable
smile that took the sting out of even his sharpest words. “But you, friends” — he faced the
others — “you must clearly realize this· October, like lebruary, was but one of the phases in
the process of social regeneration. ln October the Communist Party exploited the situation
to further its own aims. But that stage has by no means exhausted the possibilities of the
Revolution. lts fountain head contains springs that continue to flow to the height of their
source, seeking the realization of their great historic mission, the emancipation of the toilers.
Te Bolsheviki, become static, must give place to new creative forces.”
later in the evening Yossif took me aside. “Sasha,” he spoke solemnly, “you see how
radically we differ in our estimate of the Makhno movement. lt is necessary you should
learn the situation for yourself.” He looked at me significantly.
“l should like to meet Makhno,” l said.
His face lit up with joy. “Just as l have hoped,” he replied. “listen, dear friend, l have
talked the mauer over with Nestor — and, by the way, he is not far from here just now. He
wants to, see you: you and lmma, he said. Of course, you can’t go to him,” Yossif smiled at the
question he read in my eyes, “but Nestor will arrange to take any place where your Museum
car may happen to be on a date agreed upon. To secure you against Bolshevik persecution,
he will capture the whole lxpedition — you understand, don’t you`”
Affectionately placing his arm about me, he drew me aside to explain the details of the
Chapter 26
Prison and Concentration Camp
A nauseating stend assails us as we enter the compulsory labor camp at Kharkov. Te court-
yard is filled with men and boys, incredibly emaciated, mere shadows of humans. Teir faces
yellow and eyes distended, bodies ragged, and barefoot, they forcibly remind me of starving
pariahs in famine-stricen lndia.
“Te sewer is being repaired,” the official accompanying us explains. Only a fewprisoners
are at work: the others stand about apathetically, or sprawl on the ground as if too weak for
“Our worst scourge is disease,” the guide remarks. “Te men are undernourished and lac
resistance. We have no medicine and we are short of physicians.”
Some of the prisoners surround our party, apparently taking us for officials. “Tovar-
ishti,” a young man appeals to us, “when will the Commission decide upon my case`”
“Visitors,” the guide informs him laconically.
“We can’t live on the pyo. Te bread ration has been cut again. No medicine is given
out,” several complain.
Te guards motion them aside.
Te large male dormitory is appallingly crowded. Te whole floor space is taken up by
cots and bendes, set so closely together it is difficult for us to pass. Te prisoners cluster in
the corners: some, naked to the hips, are engaged in picing lice off their garments: others sit
listlessly, gazing vacantly about them. Te air is foul, suffocating.
lrom the adjoining female ward come quarreling voices. As we enter a girl cries hys-
terically· “Don’t dare call me a speculator! lt’s my last things l was selling.” She is young
and still beautiful, her torn blouse exposing delicate, well-formed shoulders. Her eyes burn
feverishly, and she breaks into a hacing cough.
“God may know who you be,” a peasant woman retorts. “But just think of me, with three
liule ones at home.” Catding sight of our group, she rises heavily from the bend, stretding
her hand out pleadingly· “Dear ones, let me go home. My poor dildren will die without me.”
Te women beset us. Te rations are bad and insufficient, they declare. Only a quarter
of a pound of bread is given them and a plate of thin soup once a day. Te doctor does not
auend the sic: their complaints are ignored, and the prison commission does not pay any
auention to their protests.
A keeper appears in the door. “To your places!” he shouts angrily. “Don’t you know the
regulations` Send your petitions in writing to the Commission.”
“We’ve done it, but we get no reply,” several women cry.
“Silence!” the overseer commands.
* * *
At the gate of the Cold Hill Prison (Kholodnaya Gorka) we meet an excited crowd, mostly
women and girls, ead with a liule bundle in hand. Tey are wildly gesticulating and arguing
with the guards. Tey have brought provisions and clothing for their arrested relatives — the
custom, known as peredata, prevailing throughout the country owing to the inability of
the government to supply its prisoners with sufficient food. But the guard declines to accept
the offerings. “New orders,” he explains· “no more peredata.”
“lor how long`”
“lor several weeks.”
Consternation and resentment break from the people. Te prisoners cannot exist without
peredata. Why should it be refused` Many of the women have come long distances, even
from neighboring towns, to bring some bread and potatoes to husband or brother. Others
have deprived themselves of necessaries to procure a liule delicacy for a sic friend. And
now this terrible order!
Te crowd besieges us with pleas. We are accompanied by the woman secretary of a
high commissar, herself an official of the Rabkrin, the powerful Department of lnspection,
organized to investigate and correct abuses in the other Soviet institutions. She is past middle
age, lean and severe looking, with the reputation of being efficient, strict, and heartless. l have
heard that she was formerly in the Tdeka, one of its Commandants, as the executioners are
Some of the women recognize our guide. lrom all sides come appeals to intercede, in
tones of fear mixed with hope.
“l don’t know why peredata is refused,” she informs them, “but l shall inquire at once.”
We enter the prison, and our guide sends for the commissar in darge. A youngish man,
gaunt and consumptive-looking, appears. “We have suspended the peredata,” he explains,
“because we are short of help. We have more work just now than we can handle.”
“lt is a great hardship for the prisoners. Perhaps the mauer can be managed,” the Secretary
“Unfortunately it can’t,” the man retorts coldly. “We work beyond our strength. As for
the rations,” he continues, “the honest workers outside are no beuer off.”
Noticing our look of disapproval, he adds· “As soon as we have caught up on our work,
we’ll permit the peredata again.”
“How soon might that be`” one of our party inquires.
“ln two or three weeks, perhaps.”
“A long time to starve.”
Te Commissar does not reply.
“We all work hard without complaining, tovarisht,” the guide reproves him severely.
“l regret l shall have to report the mauer.”
Te prison has remained as it was in the days of the Romanovs: even most of the old keep-
ers still hold their positions. But it is mud more crowded now: sanitary arrangements are
neglected and medical treatment is almost entirely absent. Yet a certain indefinable newspirit
is felt in the atmosphere. Te commissar and keepers are informally addressed as tovarisht,
and the prisoners, even the non-politicals, have acquired a freer, more independent manner.
But the discipline is severe· the old custom of collective protest is sternly suppressed, and
repeatedly the politicals have been driven to the extreme method of self-defense — a hunger
ln the corridors the inmates walk about without guards, but our guide frowns down their
auempts to approad us by a curt, “Not officials, tovarishti.” She seems not quite at ease,
and discourages conversation. Some prisoners trail behind us: occasionally a more daring
one appeals to have his case looked into. “Send in your petition in writing,” the woman
admonishes him, whereupon there comes the retort, “l did, long ago, but nothing has been
Te large cells are crowded, but the doors are open, and the men pass freely in and out.
A dark-haired youth, with sharp blac eyes, unobservedly joins our party. “l’m in for five
years,” he whispers to me. “l’m a Communist, and it was revenge on the part ofa crooked
commissar whom l threatened to expose.”
Walking through the corridors l recognize Tdernenko, whose description was given me
by Kharkov friends. He was arrested by the Tdeka to prevent being seated in the Soviet, to
whid he was elected by his fellow workers in the factory. By the help of a friendly soldier
he succeeded in escaping from the concentration camp, but was rearrested and sent to the
Cold Hill Prison. l slow down my pace, and Tdernenko, falls into the rear of our party.
“More politicals than common criminals here,” he says, pretending to speak to the prisoner
at his side. “Anardists, len Social Revolutionists, and Mensheviki. Treated worse than the
others. Only a few Whites and one American from the Koltdak front. Speculators and
counter-revolutionists can buy their way out. Proletarians and revolutionists remain.”
“Te revision commission`” l whisper in an aside.
“A fake. Tey pay no auention to our petitions.”
“What darge against you`”
“None. Neither darge nor trial. Te usual sentence — till the end of civil war.”
Te guide turns into a long, dark passage, and the prisoners fall bac. We enter the
women’s department.
Two rows of cells, one above the other, cleaner and lighter than the male part. Te doors
stand ajar, the inmates free to walk about. One of our party — lmma Goldman — asks
permission to see a political whose name she had secured from friends in the city. Te guide
hesitates, then consents, and presently a young girl appears. She is neat and comely, with an
earnest, sad face.
“Our treatment`” she repeats the question addressed to her. “Why, at first they kept us
in solitary. Tey would not let us communicate with our male comrades, and all our protests
were ignored. We had to resort to the methods we used under the old régime.” “Be careful
what you say,” the guide admonishes her.
“l’m speaking the truth,” the prisoner retorts unabashed. “We employed obstruction tac-
tics· we smashed everything in our cells and we defied the keepers. Tey threatened us with
violence, and we all declared a hunger strike. On the seventh day they consented to leave
our doors open. Now we can breathe the corridor air at least.”
“Tat is enough,” the guide interrupts.
“lf we are deprived of the peredata we’ll start a hunger strike again,” the girl declares
as she is led away.
ln the death house the cell doors are closed and loced. Te occupants are invisible, and
an oppressive silence is felt in the living tomb. lrom somewhere a short, hacing cough
strikes upon the ear like ominous croaking. Slow, measured steps resound painfully through
the narrow corridor. A foreboding of evil hangs in the air. My mind reverts to a similar
experience long buried in the recesses of my memory — the “condemned” gallery of the
Piusburg jail rises before me…
Te guard accompanying us lins the lid of the observation “eye” out into the door, and
l look into the death-cell. A tall man stands motionless in the corner. His face, framed in a
thic blac beard, is ashen gray. His eyes are fastened on the circular opening, the expression
of terror in them so overwhelming that l involuntarily step bac. “Have mercy, tovarisht,”
his voice comes as from a grave, “oh, let me live!”
“He appropriated Soviet funds,” the woman guide comments unemotionally.
“lt was only a small sum,” the man pleads. “l’ll make it good, l swear it. l am young, let
me live!”
Te guide shuts the opening.
lor days his face haunts me. Never had l seen sud a look in a human before. Primitive
fear stamped upon it in sud relief, it communicated itself lingeringly to me. Terror so abso-
lute, it turned the big, powerful man into a single, all-absorbing emotion — the mortal dread
of the sudden call to face his executioner.
As l note down these experiences in my Diary, there come to me the words of Zorin.
“Te death penalty is abolished, our prisons empty,” he had said to me soon aner my arrival
in Russia. lt seemed natural, self-evident. Have not revolutionists always opposed sud
barbarous methods` Was not mud of Bolshevik popularity due to their condemnation of
Kerensky for restoring capital punishment at the front, in 1)1¯` My first impressions in
Petrograd seemed to bear out Zorin’s statement. Once, strolling along the river Moika, there
came to my view the big prison demolished at the outbreak of the Revolution. Hardly a stone
was len in place — cells, floors, ceilings, all were a mass of débris, the iron doors and steel
window bars a heap of twisted junk. Tere lay what had once been a dreaded dungeon, now
eloquent of the people’s wrath, blindly destructive, yet wise in its instinctive discrimination.
Only part of the outer walls of the building remained: inside everything had been uuerly
wreced by the fury of age-long suffering and the leveling hand of dynamite. Te sight of
the destroyed prison seemed an inspiration, a symbol of the coming day of liberty, prisonless,
crimeless. And now, in the Cold Hill death house…
Chapter 27
Further South
August 7, 1920. — Slowly our train creeps through the country, evidence of devastation on
every hand reminding us of the long years of war, revolution, and civil strife. Te towns
and cities on our route look poverty-stricen, the stores are closed, the streets deserted. By
degrees Soviet conditions are being established, the process progressing more rapidly in some
places than in others.
ln Poltava we find neither Soviet nor lspolkom, the usual form of Bolshevik government.
lnstead, the city is ruled by the more primitive Revkom, the self-appointed revolutionary
commiuee, active underground during White régimes, and taking darge whenever the Red
Army occupies a district.
Krementdug and Znamenka present the familiar picture of the small southern town,
with the liule market place, still suffered by the Bolsheviki, the center of its commercial and
social life. ln uneven rows the peasant women sprawl on sacs of potatoes, or squat on
their haundes, exdanging flour, rice, and beans for tobacco, soap, and salt. Soviet money
is scorned, hardly any one accepting it, though tsarskiye are in demand and occasionally
kerenki are favored.
Te entire older population of the city seems to be in the market, everyone bargaining,
selling, or buying. Soviet militsioneri, gun slung across the shoulder, circulate among the
people, and here and there a man in leather coat and cap is conspicuous in the crowd — a
Communist or a Tdekist. Te people seem to shun them, and conversation is subdued in
their presence. Political questions are avoided, but lamentation over the “terrible situation”
is universal, everyone complaining about the insufficiency of the pyo, the irregularity of
its issue, and the general condition of starvation and misery.
More frequently we meet men and women of Jewish type, the look of the hunted in
their eyes, and more dreadful become the stories of pogroms that had taken place in the
neighborhood. lew young persons are visible — these are in the Soviet institutions, working
as the employees of the government. Te young women we meet occasionally have a startled,
frightened look, and many men bear ugly scars on their faces, as if from a saber or sword
ln Znamenka, Henry Alsberg, the American correspondent accompanying our lxpedi-
tion, discovers the loss of his purse, containing a considerable amount of foreign money.
lnquiries of the peasant women in the market place elicit only a shrewdly naïve smile, with
the resentful exclamation, “How’d l know!” Visiting the local police station in the faint hope
of advice or aid, we learn that the whole force has just been rushed off to the environs re-
ported to be auaced by a company of Makhnovtsi.
Despairing of recovering our loss, we return to the railroad station. To our astonishment
the Museum car is nowhere to be seen. ln consternation we learn that it was coupled to a
train that started for Kiev, via lastov, an hour ago.
We realize the seriousness of our predicament in being stranded in a city without hotels
or restaurants, and with no food to be purdased for Soviet money, the only kind in our
possession. While discussing the situation we observe a military supply train in slow motion
on a distant siding. We dash forward and succeed in boarding it at the cost of a few scratdes.
Te commissar in darge at first strenuously objects to our presence, at no pains to hide the
suspicions aroused by our sudden appearance. lt requires considerable argument and mud
demonstration of official documents before the bureaucrat is mollified. Over a cup of tea
he begins to thaw out, the primitive hospitality of the Russian helping to establish friendly
relations. Before long we are deep in the discussion of the Revolution and current problems.
Our host is a Communist “from the masses,” as he terms it. He is a great admirer of Trotsky
and his “iron broom” methods. Revolution can conquer only by the generous use of the
sword, he believes: morality and sentiment are bourgeois superstitions. His conception of
Socialism is puerile, his information about the world at large, of the scantiest. His arguments
edo the familiar editorials of the official press: he is confident the whole of Western lurope
is soon to be aflame with revolution. Te Red Army is even now before the gates of Warsaw,
he asserts, about to enter and to assure the triumph of the Polish proletariat risen against its
late in the anernoon we read lastov, and are warmly welcomed by our colleagues of
the lxpedition, who had spent anxious hours over our disappearance.
Chapter 28
Fastov the Pogromed
August 12, 1920. — Our liule company slowly trudges along the unpaved, dusty road that
runs almost in a straight line to the market place in the center of the city. Te place seems
deserted. Te houses stand vacant, most of them windowless, their doors broken in and ajar
— an oppressive sight of destruction and desolation. All is silent about us: we feel as in a
graveyard. Approading the market place our group separates, ead of us going his own way
to learn for himself.
A woman passes by, hesitates, and stops. She pushes the kerdief bac from her forehead,
and looks at me with wonderment in her sad old eyes.
“Good morning,” l address her in Jewish.
“You are a stranger here,” she says kindly. “You don’t look like our folks.”
“Yes,” l reply, “l am not long from America.”
“Ah, from Amerikeh,” she sighs wistfully. “l have a son there. And do you know what is
happening to us`”
“Not very mud, but l’d like to find out.”
“Oh, only the good God knows what we have gone through.” Her voice breaks. “lxcuse
me, l can’t help it” — she wipes the tears off her wrinkled face. “Tey killed my husband
before my eyes… l had to look on, helpless… l can’t talk about it. She stands dejectedly
before me, bent more by grief than age, like a symbol of abject tragedy.”
Recovering a liule, she says· “Come with me, if you want to learn. Come to Reb Moishe,
he can tell you everything.”
We are in the market. Adouble rowof open stalls, no more than a dozen in all, dilapidated
and forlorn-looking, almost barren of wares. A handful of large-grained, coarse salt, some
loaves of blac bread thicly doued with yellow specs of straw, a liule loose tobacco — that
is all the stoc on hand. Almost no money is passing in payment. Te few customers are
trading by exdange· about ten pounds of bread for a pound of salt, a few pipefuls of tobacco
for an onion. At the counters stand oldish men and women, a few girls among them. l see
no young men. Tese, like most of the able-bodied men and women, l am informed, had
stealthily len the town long ago, for fear of more pogroms. Tey went on foot, some to Kiev,
others to Kharkov, in the hope of finding safety and a livelihood in the larger city. Most of
them never readed their destination. lood was scarce — they had gone without provisions,
and most of them died on the way from exposure and starvation.
Te old traders surround me. “Khaye,” they whisper to the old woman, “who is this`”
“lrom Amerikeh,” she replies, a ray of hopefulness in her voice: “to learn about the
pogroms. We are going to Reb Moishe.”
“lrom Amerikeh` Amerikeh`” Amazement, bewilderment is in their tones. “Did he
come so far to find us` Will they help us` Oh, good God in Heaven, may it be true!” Several
voices speak at once all astir with the suppressed excitement of sudden hope, of renewed faith.
More people crowd about us: business has stopped. l notice similar groups surrounding my
friends nearby.
“Shah, shah, good people,” my guide admonishes them: “not everybody at once. We are
going to see Reb Moishe: he’ll tell him everything.”
“Oh, one minute, just one minute, respected man,” a pale young woman desperately
clutdes me by the arm. “My husband is there, in Amerikeh. Do you know him` Rabinovitd
— Yankel Rabinovitd. He is well known there: surely you must have heard of him. How is
he, tell me, please.”
“ln what city is he`”
“ln Nai-York, but l haven’t had any leuer from him since the war.”
“My son-in-law Khayim is in Amerikeh,” a woman, her hair all white, interrupts: “maybe
you saw him, what`” She is very old and bent, and evidently hard of hearing. She places her
hand bac of her ear to catd my reply, while her wizened, lemon-like face is turned up to
me in anxious expectation.
“Where is your son-in-law`”
“What does he say` l don’t understand,” she wails.
Te bystanders shout in her ear· “He asks where Khayim, your son-in-law, is`”
“ln Amerikeh, in Amerikeh,” she replies.
“ln Amerikeh,” a man near me repeats.
“America is a big country. ln what city is Khayim`” l inquire.
She looks bewildered, then stammers· “l don’t know — l don’t recollect just now — l —”
Bobeh (grandmother), you have his leuer at home,” a small boy shouts in her ear. “He
wrote you before the fighting started, don’t you remember`”
“Yes, yes! Will you wait, gutinker (good one)`” the old woman begs. “l’m going right
away to fetd the leuer. Maybe you know my Khayim.”
She moves heavily away. Te others ply me with questions, about their relatives, friends,
brothers, husbands. Almost everyone of them has someone in that far-off America, whid is
like a fabled land to these simple folk — the land of promise, peace, and wealth, the happy
place from whid but few return.
“Maybe you will take a leuer to my husband`” a pale young woman asks. All at once a
dozen persons begin to clamor for permission to write and send their leuers through me to
their beloved ones, “there in Amerikeh.” l promise to take their mail, and the crowd slowly
melts away, with a pleading admonition to wait for them. “Only a few words — we’ll be
right bac.”
“let us go to Reb Moishe,” my guide reminds me. “Tey know,” she adds, with a wave at
the others, “they’ll bring their leuers there.”
As we start on our way a tall man with jet-blac beard and burning eyes detains me. “Be
so good, one minute.” He speaks quietly, but with a strong effort to restrain his emotion. “l
have no one in America,” he says: “l have no one anywhere. You see this house`” Tere is a
nervous tremor in his voice, but he steadies, himself. “Tere, across the way, with the broken
windows, paper-covered, pasted over. My old father, the Almighty bless his memory, and
my two young brothers were killed there. Cut to pieces with sabers. Te old man had his
peiess (pious earlocs) cut off, together with his ears, and his belly ripped open… l ran away
with my daughter, to save her. look, there she is, at the third stall on the right.” His eyes,
stream with tears as he points towards a girl standing a few feet away. She is about fineen,
oval faced, with delicate features, pale and fragile as a lily, and with most peculiar eyes. She
is looking straight before her, while her hands are medanically cuuing dunks of bread from
the big round loaf. Tere is the same dreadful expression in her eyes that l have recently seen
for the first time in the faces of very young girls in pogromed cities. A look of wild terror
frozen into a stare that grips at my heart. Yet, not realizing the truth, l whisper to her father,
“No, not blind:” he cries out. “Wish to God — no, mud worse. She has been looking like
that ever since the night when l ran away from our house with her. lt was a fearful night.
like wild beasts they cut and slashed and raved. l hid with my Rosele in the cellar, but we
were not safe there, so we ran to the woods nearby. Tey caught us on the way. Tey took
her from me and len me for dead. look —” He takes off his hat and l see a long sword cut,
only partly healed, scarring the side of his head. “Tey len me for dead,” he repeats. “When
the murderers had gone, three days later, she was found in the field and she has been like
that … with that look in her eyes … she hasn’t talked since… Oh, my God, why dost Tou
punish me so`”
“Dear Reb Sholem, do not blaspheme,” my woman guide admonishes him. “Are you the
only one to suffer` You know my great loss. We all share the same fate. lt has always been
the fate of us Jews. We know not the ways of God, blessed be His holy name. But let us go
to Reb Moishe,” she says, turning to me.
Behind the counter of what was once a grocery store stands Reb Moishe. He is a middle-
aged Hebrew, with an intelligent face that now bears only the memory of a kindly smile.
An old resident of the town and elder in the synagogue, he knows every inhabitant and the
whole history of the place. He had been one of the well-to-do men of the city, and even now
he cannot resist the temptation of hospitality, so traditional with his race. lnvoluntarily his
eyes wander to the shelves entirely bare save for a few empty boules. Te room is dingy and
out of repair: the wall paper hangs down in craced sheets, exposing the plaster, yellow with
moisture. On the counter are some loaves of blac bread, straw doued, and a small tray with
green onions. Reb Moishe bends over, produces a boule of soda from under the counter, and
offers the treasure to me, with a smile of benign welcome. A look of consternation spreads
over the face of his wife, who sits darning silently in the corner, as Reb Moishe shamefacedly
declines the proferred payment. “No, no, l cannot do it,” he says with simple dignity, but l
know it as the height of sacrifice.
learning the purpose of my visit to lastov, Reb Moishe invites me to the street. “Come
with me,” he says: “l’ll show you what they did to us. Tough there is not mud for the eyes”
— he looks at me with searding gaze — “only those who lived through it can understand,
and maybe” — he pauses a moment — “maybe also those who really feel with us in our great
We step out of the store. Across is a large vacant space, its center liuered with old boards
and broken brics. “Tat was our sdoolhouse,” Reb Moishe comments. “Tis is all that’s len
of it. Tat house on your len, with the shuuers closed, it was Zalman’s, our sdool-teader’s.
Tey killed six there — father, mother, and four dildren. We found them all with their heads
broken by the buus of guns. Tere, around the corner, the whole street — you see, every
house pogromed. We have many sud streets.”
Aner a while he continues· “ln this house, with the green roof, the whole family was
wiped out — nine persons. Te murderers set fire to it, too — you can see through the broken
doors — the inside is all burned and darred. Who did it`” he repeats my question in a tone
of hopelessness. “Beuer ask who did not` Petlura came first, then Denikin, and then the
Poles, and just bands of every kind: may the blac years know them. Tere were many of
them, and it was always the same curse. We suffered from all of them, every time the town
danged hands. But Denikin was the worst of all, worse even than the Poles, who hate us so.
Te last time the Denikins were here the pogrom lasted four days. Oh, God!”
He suddenly halts, throwing up his hands. “Oh, you Americans, you who live in safety,
do you know what it means, four days! lour long, terrible days, and still more terrible nights,
four days and four nights and no let-up in the butdery. Te cries, the shrieks, those piercing
shrieks of women seeing their babies torn limb from limb before their very eyes… l hear them
now… lt freezes my blood with horror… lt drives me mad… Tose sights… Te bloody mass
of flesh that was once my own dild, my lovely Mirele… She was only five years old.” He
breaks down. leaning against the wall, his body shakes with sobs.
Soon he recovers himself. “Here we are in the center of the worst pogromed part,” he
continues. “lorgive my weakness: l can’t speak of it with dry eyes… Tere is the synagogue.
We Jews sought safety in it. Te Commander told us to. His name` May evil be as strange
to me as his dark name. One of Denikin’s generals: the Commander, that’s what he was
called. His men were mad with blood lust when there was nothing more to rob. You know,
the soldiers and peasants think there is gold to be found in every Jewish home. Tis was
once a prosperous city, but the rid men that did business with us lived in Kiev and Kharkov.
Te Jews here were just making a living, with a few of them comfortably off. Well, the
many pogroms long ago robbed them of all they had, ruined their business, and despoiled
their homes. Still, they lived somehow. You know how it is with the Jew — he is used to
mistreatment, he tries to make the best of it. But Denikin’s soldiers — oh, it was Gehenna let
loose. Tey went wild when they found nothing to take, and they destroyed what they didn’t
want. Tat was the first two days. But with the third began the killing, mostly with swords
and bayonets. On the third day the Commander ordered us to take refuge in the synagogue.
He promised us safety, and we brought our wives and dildren there. Tey put a guard at the
door, to protect us, the Commander said. lt was a trap. At night the soldiers came: all the
hooligans of the town were with them, too. Tey came and demanded our gold. Tey would
not believe we had none. Tey searded the Holy Scrolls, they tore them and trampled upon
them. Some of us could not look quietly on that awful desecration. We protested. And then
began the butdery. Te horror, oh, the horror of it… Te women beaten, assaulted, the men
cut down with sabers… Some of us broke through the guard at the door, and we ran into the
streets. like hounds of hell, they followed us, slashing, killing, and hunting us from house to
house. lor days anerwards the streets were liuered with the killed and maimed. Tey would
not let us approad our dead. Tey would not permit us to bury them or to help the wounded
who were groaning in their misery, begging for death … Not a glass of water could we give
them…Tey shot anyone coming near…Te famished dogs of the whole neighborhood came:
they smelt prey. l saw them tear off limbs from the dead, from the helpless wounded… Tey
fed on the living … on our brothers…”
He broke down again. “Te dogs fed on them … fed on them …” he repeats amid sobs.
Someone approades us. lt is the doctor who had ministered to the sic and wounded
aner the last pogrom was over. He looks the typical Russian of the intelligentsia, the stamp
of the idealist and student engraved upon him. He walks with a heavy limp, and his quic
eye catdes my unvoiced question. “A memento of those days,” he says, auempting a smile.
“lt troubles me a good deal and handicaps my work considerably,” he adds. “Tere are many
sic people and l am on my feet all day. Tere are no conveyances — they took away all the
horses and caule. l am just on my way now to poor lanya, one of my hopeless patients. No,
no, good man, it’s no use your visiting her,” he waives aside my request to accompany him.
“lt is like many others here: a terrible but common case. She was a nurse, taking care of a
paralytic young girl. Tey occupied a room on the second floor of a house nearby. On the
first floor soldiers were quartered. When the pogrom began the soldiers kept the paralytic
and her nurse prisoners. What happened there no one will ever know… When the soldiers
had at last gone we had to use a ladder to get to the girls’ room. Te brutes had covered the
stairs with human excrement — it was impossible to approad. When we got to the two girls,
the paralytic was dead in the arms of the nurse, and the lauer a raving maniac. No, no: it’s
no use your seeing her.”
“Doctor,” says Reb Moishe, “why don’t you tell our American friend how you got crip-
pled` He should hear everything.”
“Oh, that is not important, Reb Moishe. We have so many worse things.” Upon my
insisting, he continues· “Well, it is not a long story. l was shot as l approaded a wounded
man lying in the street. lt was dark, and as l was passing by l heard someone moan. l had
just stepped off the sidewalk when l was shot. lt was the night of the synagogue pogrom.
But my mishap, man — it’s nothing when you think of the nightmare in the warehouse.”
“Te warehouse`” l asked. “What happened there`”
“Te worst you can imagine,” the doctor replies. “Tose scenes no human power can
describe. lt wasn’t murder there — only a few were killed in the warehouse. lt was the
women, the girls, even dildren… When the soldiers pogromed the synagogue, many of the
women succeeded in gaining the street. As if by some instinct they collected anerwards in
the warehouse — a big outhouse that had not been used for many years. Where else were
the women to go` lt was too dangerous at home: the mob was searding for the men who
had escaped from the synagogue and was slaughtering them on the street, in their homes,
wherever found. So the women and girls gathered in the warehouse. lt was late at night
and the place was dark and still. Tey feared to breathe, almost, lest their hiding-place be
discovered by the hooligans. During the night more of the women folk and some of their
men also found their way to the warehouse. Tere they all lay, huddled on the floor in dead
silence. Te cries and shrieks from the street readed them, but they were helpless and every
moment they feared discovery. How it happened we don’t know, but some soldiers did find
them. Tere was no pogrom there, in the ordinary sense. Tere was worse. Te Commander
himself gave orders that a cordon of soldiers be stationed at the warehouse, that no pogrom
was to be made, and that no one be permiued to leave without his permission. At first we
did not understand the meaning of it, but the terrible truth soon dawned on us. On the
second night several officers arrived, accompanied by a strong detadment, all mounted and
carrying lanterns. By their light they peered into the faces of the women. Tey selected five
of the most beautiful girls, dragged them out and rode away with them. Tey came again
and again that night… Tey came every night, always with their lanterns. lirst the youngest
were taken, girls of fineen and twelve, even as young as eight. Ten they took the older
ones and the married women. Only the very old were len. Tere were over .cc women and
girls in the warehouse, and most of them were taken away. Some of them never returned
alive: many were later found dead on the roads. Others were abandoned along the route of
the withdrawing army … they returned days, weeks later … sic, tortured, everyone of them
infected with terrible diseases.”
Te doctor pauses, then takes me aside. “Can an outsider realize the whole depth of our
misfortune`” he asks. “How many pogroms we have suffered! Te last one, by Denikin, con-
tinued eight days. Tink of it, eight days! Over ten thousand of our people were slaughtered:
three thousand died from exposure and wounds.” Glancing toward Reb Moishe, he adds in a
hoarse whisper· “Tere is not a woman or girl above the age of ten in our city who has not
been outraged. Some of them four, five, as high as fourteen times… You said you were about
to go to Kiev. ln the City Hospital there you will find seven dildren, girls under thirteen, that
we succeeded in placing there for medical treatment, mostly surgical. lveryone of those girls
has been outraged six and more times. Tell America about it — will it still remain silent`”
Chapter 29
Te Krestdatik, Kiev’s main thoroughfare, pulsates with intense life. Straight as an arrow it
lies before me, a magnificent broad avenue stretding far into the distance and finally disap-
pearing in the superb Kupetdesky Park, formerly the pride of the city. Ancient, the storms
of time and human strife defying, Kiev stands picturesquely beautiful, a radiant mosaic of
iridescent foliage, golden cathedrals and monasteries of exotic arditecture, and green-clad
mountains towering on the banks of the Dnieper flowing majestically below.
Recent days revived the bloody scenes the old city had witnessed in the centuries past,
when Mongol and Tartar, Cossac, Pole, and fierce native tribes had fought for its possession.
But more sanguinary and ferocious have been the struggles of yesterday. loreign armies of
occupation, German, Magyar, and Austrian, native gaidamaki, Poles, Russians — ead turned
the ancient city into a shamble. Skoropadsky, Petlura, Denikin, like the savage atamans of
Gogol’s tales, have vied with ead other in filling the streams that crimson the Dnieper in
these the darkest days of Russia.
lncredible vitality of man! lxasperating, yet blessed brevity of human memory! Today
the city looks bright and peaceful — forgouen is the slaughter, forgouen the sacrifices of
Te streets, full of movement and color, contrast strikingly with the sicly exhaustion of
northern cities. Stores and restaurants are open, and the bakeries display appetizing pirozh-
niye, the sweets so dear to the Russian heart. Most of the business signs are still in their ac-
customed places, some in Russian, others in the Ukrainian language, the lauer predominating
since the famous decree of Skoropadsky when overnight all shingles had to be “Ukrainian-
ized.” Te boulevards are alive with people, the women larger and less beautiful than in
Kharkov, the men stolid, heavy, unprepossessing.
lt is a month since the Poles len the city· the Bolsheviki have not yet had time to establish
completely their régime. But the reports of Polish destruction, so industriously circulated in
Moscow, prove baseless. liule damage has been done by the enemy, except the burning of
some railroad bridges on the outskirts of the city. Te famous Sofiysky Cathedral and the
Midailovsky Monastery are undisturbed in their imposing splendor. Without reason did
Tdiderin protest to the world against “the unheard-of vandalism” toward those gems of old
Te Soviet institutions present the familiar picture of Moscow pauern· gatherings of
worn, tired people, looking hungry and apathetic. Typical and sad. Te corridors and offices
are crowded with applicants seeking permission to do or to be exempt from doing this or
that. Te labyrinth of new decrees is so intricate, the officials prefer the easier way of solv-
ing perplexing problems by “revolutionary method,” on their “conscience,” generally to the
dissatisfaction of the petitioners.
long lines are everywhere, and mud writing and handling of “papers” and documents
by Sovietsky barishni (young ladies), in high-heeled shoes, that swarm in every office. Tey
puff at cigareues and animatedly discuss the advantages of certain bureaus as measured by
the quantity of the pyo issued, the symbol of Soviet existence. Workers and peasants, their
heads bared, approad the long tables. Respectfully, even servilely, they seek information,
plead for an “order” for clothing, or a “ticet” for boots. “l don’t know,” “ln the next office,”
“Come tomorrow,” is the usual reply. Tere are protests and lamentations, and begging for
auention and advice. Occasionally someone in the line, aner days of fruitless effort, loses
his temper, and a string of true Russian curses fills the room, rising above the noise and the
smoke. But when the commissar hastily enters, belated from the conference of the Party
Commiuee, the hubbub subsides, and the barishni appear busy at their tasks. He has a worn
and worried look· his desk is piled with papers awaiting his auention, and within an hour he
is expected at another session. lucy applicant that gets a hearing: happy if action is taken
on his case.
Te industries are at low ebb, mainly because of the lac of raw material and coal. Te
decree militarizing labor is being applied with great severity: the toilers in the shops and
factories are rigidly bound to their places of employment. But the madinery has been ne-
glected, most of it is out of repair, and there is a scarcity of artisans capable of puuing it in
order. Te men are at their posts, pretending to work, but in reality idling or engaged in the
stealthy manufacture of cigareue lighters, keys, locs, and other objects for personal use or
private sale.
Many of the factories are entirely closed: others are operating with a minimum output.
Te sugar refineries, the most important industry of the Southeast, are working at a great
deficit. Because of the total devaluation of Soviet money the State is compelled to pay its
employees with products, diefly with sugar from the old reserves. ln seard of documents
for the Museum, l gather official statistics showing that to produce one pood (about .c lbs.) of
sugar, the government expends thirty-five, onen even finy-five pounds of the old sugar. Te
officials realize the extreme seriousness of the situation, but feel themselves helpless. Some
skeptically, others with daracteristic racial fatality, trudge on in the treadmill.
ln the civil and military departments there is feverish activity, but sadly unorganized.
Almost every brand is working independently, without relation to other Soviet institutions,
frequently in entire ignorance and even in opposition to the policies and measures of the
other executive bodies. Curious incidents result. Tus the Chairman of the All-Ukrainian
lxecutive Commiuee has sent a telegraphic request to all Soviet institutions to aid the work of
our lxpedition, while the Secretary of the Party has at the same time issued an order against
us, condemning our Mission as an auempt to deprive Ukraina of its historic documents, and
threatening to confiscate the material we have collected.
Te Soviet of labor Unions occupies the huge building on the Krestdatik whid was
formerly the Hotel Savoy. ln 1)1s and 1)1) that body played a most important role, its work
covering the whole field of proletarian interests and its authority based on the expressed will
of the industrial masses. But gradually the Soviet has been deprived of power, the government
taking over its essential functions, and turning the unions into executive and administrative
brandes of the State madinery. Te elective principle has been abolished and replaced by
Communist appointment.
Te labor headquarters are in great confusion. As in Kharkov, the entire Soviet and
most of the managing boards of the locals have been recently “liquidated” as Menshevik
or unsympathetic to the Communists, and new officials appointed by Moscow. Te same
atmosphere of suppressed nervousness is sensed in the unions as in the other government
institutions. Te Bolsheviki do not feel secure in the city, and there are stubborn rumors of
Communist reverses on the Polish front, of Wrangel advancing from the Crimea, of Odessa
being taken by the Whites, and of Makhno activity in the Kiev province.
ln the course of my work l come in toud with T—, the Ukrainian Communist, whom
l had met last winter in the Kharitonensky as a member of the delegation that had come
to Moscow to plead for greater independence and self-determination for the Ukraina. He
is of middle age, a university graduate and revolutionist repeatedly imprisoned under the
Romanov régime. An active borodbist (len Social Revolutionist of the Ukraina), he submiued
to discipline when his, party joined the Communists.
But he has “private opinions” whid, long suppressed, seek relief. “l don’t mind discussing
these questions with you,” he remarks, with an emphasis on the pronoun, “though l know
that you are not a Communist — ”
“But l am,” l interrupt: “not indeed a Bolshevik: nor a Governmentalist, but a free, Anar-
dist Communist.”
“Not our kind of Communist. Still, you are an old revolutionist. l heard a good deal
about you in Moscow, and l can call you comrade. l disagree with you, of course, but l also
disagree with the policies of my Party. Te Ukraina is not Russia —it’s a great mistake for ‘the
center’ to treat us as if we were. We could win the people to our side by having greater local
autonomy and more independence. Our Ukrainian Party has used every effort to convince
Moscow in this mauer, but without result. We are a republic in name only: in reality we are
just a Russian province.”
“Do you want entire separation`”
“No. We want to be federated with R.S.l.S.R., but not subject. We are as good Commu-
nists as they in Moscow, but our influence here would be mud greater were we len free to
act. We know the conditions and needs of the people beuer than those who sit in the Krem-
lin. Take, for instance, the recent wholesale suspension of the union management. lt has
antagonized the entire labor element against us. Te same is happening in the other Soviet
institutions. Only yesterday a dauffeur complained to me about our ‘Moscow methods.’ Te
man had been ordered to the front, but his wife died recently, leaving a paralytic boy on his
hands. He has been trying to get his dild into some hospital or home, but his petition, in the
Ukrainian language, has been returned to himwith the order to ‘write it in Russian.’ And that
aner two weeks of waiting! Now the man is to join his regiment within two days. Do you
wonder that the people hate us` Te ‘center’ ignores our suggestions, and we are powerless.”
Criticism of Moscow is general among the Ukrainian Communists. Onen, to my surprise
and consternation, l detect obvious anti-Semitismin their resentment of Kremlin domination.
Te anecdotes and puns circulating in Soviet institutions are tinged with this spirit, though
some do not lac wit. Among the people at large hatred of the Jew is intense, though its
active expression is held in abeyance. Yet not unfrequent are incidents sud as happened
this morning in the Podol, the proletarian district of the city, where a man ran amuc in the
market, knife in hand, shouting· “Kill the Jews, save Russia!” He stabbed several persons
before he was overpowered. lt is said that the man was crazed by hunger and illness, but his
sentiments are unfortunately too popular to require sud an explanation.
Kiev, in the heart of the former gheuo, has lately still more increased its Hebrew popu-
lation, come to the larger city in the hope of finding comparative safety from the continual
wave of pogroms whid swept the province since 1)1¯. Whoever the danging political mas-
ters — with the sole exception of the Bolsheviki — the Jew was always the first victim, the
eternal martyr. lt is the concurrence of opinion that Denikin and the Poles were the most
brutal and ruthless. Under the lauer even Kiev was not free from anti-Semitic excesses, and
in the Podol pogroms took place repeatedly.
ln the city library, in a recent publication by a man of great literary and intellectual
auainments, l read· “Pogroms are sad, but if that is the only way to get rid of the Bolsheviki,
then we must have pogroms.”
Chapter 30
In Various Walks
By the aid of R—, the secretary of an important labor union, l have gathered mud valuable
material for the lxpedition. R— is a Menshevik who has in some unexplained manner es-
caped the recent “cleaning process.” His known popularity among the workers, he believes,
has saved him. “Te Bolsheviki are keeping an eye on me, but they have len me alone so far,”
he said significantly.
lamiliar with the city, its museums, libraries, and ardives, R— has been a great help
in my quest for data and documents. Mud that is valuable has been lost, and still more
has been destroyed by the workers themselves, in the interests of their safety, at the time
of German occupation and White Terror. But a considerable part of the labor ardives has
been preserved, sufficient to reconstruct the history of the heroic struggle of the unions since
their inception and throughout the stormy days of revolution and civil war. All through the
Mensheviki played the role of the intellectual leaders, with the Bolsheviki and Anardists as
the revolutionary inspiration of the workers.
Te headquarters of the labor Soviet have somehow become the depository of a strange
documentary mixture. Police and gendarme records, the minutes of Duma sessions, and
financial statistics have found their way there, only to be forgouen. By a curious dance the
first Universal of Petlura, a rare document containing the original declaration of principles
and aims by the Ukrainian national democracy, has been discovered by me in a neglected
drawer. A Communist official claims it as his “personal possession,” with whid, however,
he is willing to part for a consideration. ln view of the large price demanded, the mauer has
now become a subject of correspondence with the Museum.
ln Menshevik circles feeling against the Bolsheviki is very biuer. lt is the general senti-
ment among themthat the Communists, formerly Social Democrats, have betrayed Marx and
discredited Socialism. “Asiatic revolutionists,” R— calls them. Tere is no difference between
Trotsky and the hangman Stolypin, he asserts: their methods are identical. lndeed, there was
more political life under Nidolas ll than there is today. Te Bolsheviki, alleged Marxists,
think by decrees and terror to alter the immutable law of social evolution: to skip several
steps at once, as it were, on the ladder of progress. Te lebruary Revolution was essentially
bourgeois, but lenin auempted to turn it by the violence of an insignificant minority into
a social revolution. Te complete debacle of all hopes is the result. Te Communists, R—
believes, cannot last mud longer. Russia is on the verge of uuer economic collapse. Te old
food reserves are exhausted: production has almost ceased. Militarization of toil has failed.
Trotsky’s calculations of the progressive increase of the output on the “labor front” have been
exploded like Bolshevik prophecies of world revolution. Te factory is not a baulefield. Con-
verting the country into a camp of forced labor is not conducive to creative effort. lt has
divided the people into slaves and slave drivers, and created a powerful class of Soviet bu-
reaucrats. Most significant of all, it has turned even the more advanced workers against the
Communists. Now the Bolsheviki can count neither on the peasant nor on the proletariat:
the whole country is against them. But for the stupid policy of the Allies, they would have
been swept away long ago. Te blocade and invasions have played into their hands. Te
Bolsheviki need war to keep them in power: the present Polish campaign suits them splen-
didly. But it is the last Communist straw. lt will break, and the bloody Bolshevik experiment
will come to an end. “History will write them down as the ard-enemies of the Revolution,”
R— concluded emphatically.
* * *
Friday evening. —On the dining table at the home of Reb Zakhare, the old Zionist, burn three
candles orthodoxically blessed by the house-wife. Te whole family are gathered for the
festive occasion. But the traditional soup and meat are absent· herring and kasha are being
served, and small dunks of Khale, the Sabbath bread, now only partly of wheat. Besides
the parents, two daughters and a son of eighteen are present. Te oldest boy — “Yankel was
his name,” Reb Zakhare says with a heavy sigh. “He’d now be twenty-three, his memory
be blessed” — was killed in the pogrom the Denikin men had made just before they finally
evacuated the city. He sought to defend his sister — the youngest, then only fineen. Together
they were visiting a friend in the Podol when the mob broke into the street, sacing every
house, pillaging, and murdering.
Te old lady sits in the corner crying quietly. Te look of frozen terror, whid l have
seen onen lately, is in the eyes of the girls. Te young man steps over to his mother and
gently speaks to her. True Zionists, the family converse in Old Hebrew, making an evident
concession in addressing, me in Yiddish.
“At least you are free from pogroms under the Bolsheviki,” l remark.
“ln a certain sense,” the old man assents: “but it is the Bolsheviki who are responsible
for pogroms. Yes, yes, we had them under the Tsar also,” he interrupts my protest, “but they
were nothing like those we have had since. Hatred against us has increased. To the gentiles
a Bolshevik now means a Jew: a commissar is a Zhid (opprobrious term for the Jew), and
every Hebrew is held responsible for the murders of the Tdeka. l have lived all my life in
the gheuo, and l have seen pogroms in the years past, but never sud terrible things as since
the, Bolsheviki got into Moscow.”
“But they have made no pogroms,” l insist.
“Tey also hate the Jew. We are always the victims. Under the Communists we have no
violent mob pogroms: at least l have not heard of any. But we have the ‘quiet pogroms,’ the
systematic destruction of all that is dearest to us — of our traditions, customs, and culture.
Tey are killing us as a nation. l don’t know but what that is the worst pogrom,” he adds
Aner a while he takes up the subject again·
“Some foolish Jews are proud that our people are in the government, and that Trotsky is
war minister. As if Trotsky and sud others are Jews! What good is it all, l ask, when our
nation must suffer as before, and more`”
“Te Jews have been made the political and social equals of gentiles,” l suggest.
“lquals in what` ln misery and corruption. But even there we are not equal. Te Jew has
more to bear than the others. We are not fit for the factory — we were always business men,
traders, and now we have been ruined entirely. Tey have sown corruption in our youth
who now think only of power: or to join the Tdeka for gain. Tat was never before. Tey
are destroying the dream of Palestine, our true home: they are suppressing every effort to
educate our dildren in the proper Jewish spirit.”
* * *
ln the Kulturliga gather Hebrew writers, poets, and teaders, most of them members of the
Volkspartei when that political party was represented in the Rada by its Minister of Jewish
Affairs. lormerly the league was a powerful organization, with z!c brandes throughout
the South, doing cultural work among its co-religionists. Te institution had mud to suffer
through the various political danges, the Bolsheviki were tolerant at first, and even finan-
cially aided its educational efforts. But gradually the help was withdrawn and obstacles be-
gan to be placed in the way of the league. Te Communists frown upon the too nationalistic
daracter of its work. Te Yovkom, Jewish brand of the Party, is particularly antagonistic.
Te league’s teaders and older pupils have been mobilized into State service, and the field
of its efforts narrowed down. ln the provinces most of its brandes have been compelled to
close entirely, but in Kiev the devotion and persistence of its leading spirits still enables the
league to continue.
lt is the sole oasis in the city of non-partisan intellectual and social life. Tough now
limited in its activities, it still enjoys great popularity among the Jewish youth. lts art classes,
including drawing, painting and sculpture, are eagerly visited, and the theatrical studio is
developing young actors and actresses of mud promise. Te rehearsals l auended, especially
that of “Te World’s lnd,” the posthumous work of an unknown dramatist, were unique in
artistic conception and powerful in expression.
Te younger elements that frequent the Kulturliga dream of Zion, and look to the aid of
lngland in securing to the Jewish nation its traditional home. Tey are out of toud with
the Western world and recent events, but their reliance on the hopes raised by the Jewish
Congress is unshaken. Somehow, sometime, probably even in the not distant future, is to
happen the great event and Jewry will be reestablished in Palestine. ln that ardent faith
they drag on their existence from day to day, intellectually vegetating, physically in misery.
Teir former sources of support are abolished, the government having supplied them with
a bread-card of the fourth category. Te lauer is the Bolshevik label of the bourzhooi, the
intelligentsia nowbeing denounced as sud, though in reality the ridmiddle class has sought
safety at the outbreak of the Revolution. Hatred of the bourgeoisie has been transferred to the
intellectuals, official agitation cultivating and intensifying this spirit. Tey are represented
as the enemies of the proletariat, traitors to the Revolution — at best speculators, if not active
counter-revolutionists. Tere is no stemming the fearful tide sweeping against them. Nor
is it the spontaneous unfeuering of popular sentiment. Te flames are fanned by Moscow.
Bolshevik agents from the center, sent as diefs and “instructors,” systematically rouse the
basest instincts. Zinoviev himself severely upbraided the local Communists and his “brother
proletarians” for leniency to the bourgeoisie. “Tey still walk your streets,” he exclaimed at a
public meeting “clad in the best finery, while you go about in rags. Tey live in the luxurious
homes, while you grovel in cellars. You must not permit sud things any longer.”
Visits of Communist leaders are always followed by renewed “requisitions fromthe bour-
geoisie.” Te method is simple. Te house porter is instructed to compile a list of holders of
cards of the fourth category. ln most cases they are intellectual proletarians — teaders, writ-
ers, scientists. But the possession of the fourth category card is their doom· they are legitimate
victims of requisition. Clothing, underwear, household goods — everything is confiscated as
alleged izlishki (superfluities).
“Te most tragic part of it,” said C—, the well. known Yiddish writer, “is that the izlishki
rarely read their proletarian destination. We all know that the really valuable things con-
fiscated get no further than the Tdeka, while the old and almost useless rags are sent to the
unions, for distribution among the workers.”
“Onen one does not even know who is ‘requisitioning’,” remarked a member of the
league: “sometimes it is done by Tdekists on their own account.”
“ls there no redress`” l asked: “does no one protest`”
C— made a deprecating motion. “We have learned beuer,” be replied, “from the fate of
those who dared.”
“You can’t protest against Bolshevik ‘revolutionary orders,’ as they call it,” said a young
woman teader. “l have tried it. lt happened like this. One day, returning to my room, l found
a stranger occupying it. On my demanding what he was doing there, he informed me that
he had been assigned to it, showing me his document from the Housing Bureau. ‘And what
shall l do`’ l asked. ‘You can sleep on the floor,’ he replied, stretding himself on my bed. l
protested to the higher authorities, but they refused to consider the mauer. ‘Te room is big
enough for two,’ they insisted, though that was not the case at all. ‘But you put a strange man
in my room,’ l pleaded. ‘You’ll soon get acquainted,’ they sneered, ‘we make no distinction
of sex.’ l remained with some friends for a while, but they were so crowded l had to look for
other quarters. lor days l stood in line in the Housing Bureau, but it was impossible to get
an order for a room. Meanwhile my dief threatened to report me for neglecting my work,
because most of my time was spent in the Soviet offices. linally l complained to the Rabkrin,
whid is supposed to protect proletarian interests. Teir agent invited me toshare his room,
and l slapped his face. He had me arrested, and l was kept in the Tdeka two months for
“lt might have ended worse,” some one commented.
“When you were released,” l pursued, interested in the woman’s story, “what did you do
about your room`”
She smiled sadly. “l learned a lot while siuing in the Tdeka,” she said. “When l was
liberated, l sought out a member of the Housing Bureau. lortunately l had saved a pair of
fine lrend shoes, and l presented them to him. ‘A liule gin for your wife,’ l told him, not
mud caring whid one would get it, for he is known to have several. Within twenty-four
hours l received a splendid large room, furnished in true bourgeois style.”
* * *
Te sun has set, the streets are dark, the infrequent lights flicer dimly in the foggy air. Turn-
ing the corner of the Krestdatik, on my way to the Ispolkom, l find myself in the midst of an
excited crowd, surrounded by soldiers and militia. lt is an oblava looking for labor deserters.
Men and women are detained within the military circle, to be taken to the station for exami-
nation. Only a Communist card secures immediate release. Arrest means detention for days,
even weeks — and l have an urgent appointment at Communist headquarters. But in vain l
explain to the militsioneri that tovarisht Vetoshkin is expecting me. lven the name of the
powerful head of the lxecutive Commiuee does not impress them. Te Commiuee of labor
and Defense is now supreme: its orders are to detain everyone for investigation regarding
his employment. Te arrested men and women plead, argue, and produce documents, but
the soldiers remain stolid, commanding everyone to line up. l demand to see the officer in
darge, but the militsioner remains at my side, ignoring my protests. Suddenly the crowd
in front begins jostling and pushing· a fight has started on the Corner. My guard rushes
forward and, taking advantage of the situation, l cross the street and step into the Ispolkom
Yetoshkin’s secretary meets me on the stairs. lxcusing my tardiness by the oblava in-
cident, l suggest the desirability of beuer system and judgment in the organization of sud
mauers. Te Secretary expresses regret at the stupid and irresponsible manner of the raid,
but “nitevo ne podelayesh” (it can’t be helped), he assures me with conviction.
Te Communist banquet hall is flooded with light: the walls are decorated with red ban-
ners and inscriptions, and crimson bunting frames the large portraits of lenin and Trotsky,
with a small likeness of lunatdarsky in a less conspicuous place. Te long dining table is
laden with a variety of fruit and wine, and a doice meal is served the guests invited to honor
the lrend and ltalian delegates visiting the city. Angelica Balabanova is presiding: at her
side are Vetoshkin and other high Soviet officials of the city, with a large sprinkling of men
in military uniform.
lt is an official assembly of the Communist aristocracy, with lmma Goldman and myself
as the only non-Bolsheviki present by special invitation of our mutual friend Angelica. Her
motherly, simple personality seems out of place in this gathering. Tere is deep sadness in
her look, a suggestion of disapproval of all the finery and “style” put on for the occasion.
Her auention is engaged by the local men at her side, who exert themselves to please the
important personage “from the center.” Others are entertaining the foreign delegates, the
lrend-speaking tovarishti having been placed as their neighbors. Te wine is good and
unstinted, the food delicious. By degrees the atmosphere loses its stiff formality, and a freer
spirit descends upon the banquet table.
With coffee begin the speedes. Te Russian proletariat, with the Communist Party as its
advance guard, is extolled as the banner bearer of social revolution, and the firm conviction
of the speedy breakdown of capitalism throughout the world is expressed. But for the cursed
Allies starving the country and supporting armed counter-revolution, Russia — it is claimed
— would be a workers’ paradise with full liberty and welfare for all. Te Mensheviki and
the Social Revolutionists, traitors to the Revolution, have been silenced within the country,
but abroad these laceys of capitalism, the Kautskys, lafargues, et al., still continue their
poisonous work, maligning the Commmunists and defaming the Revolution. lt is, therefore,
doubly to be welcomed that the foreign delegates have come to Russia to acquaint themselves
with the real situation, and that they are visiting the Ukraina where they can with their own
eyes witness the great work the Communists have accomplished.
l glance at the delegates. Tey sit unmoved during the long speedes in the strange lan-
guage, but even Angelica’s masterful rendering into lrend, enrided by her personality and
impassioned oratory, does not seem to impress them. l detect disappointment in their faces.
Perhaps they had hoped for a less official, more intimate discussion of the revolutionary
problems. Tey have undoubtedly heard of the numerous peasant uprisings and the puni-
tive expeditions, the frequent strikes, the Makhno movement, and the general opposition to
the Communists. But these mauers have been carefully avoided by the speakers, who have
sought to present a picture of a unified people coöperating in the “proletarian dictatorship”
and enthusiastically supporting its “advance guard, the Communist Party.”
late at night, accompanying the foreign delegates to the railroad station, l have oppor-
tunity to learn their sentiments. “Te observations we have made while in Russia and the
material we have collected,” one of them remarks, “entirely disprove Bolshevik claims. We
feel it our duty to tell the whole truth to our people at home.”
Next morning in the passage, where provisions are purdased to fill out the scanty pyo,
l meet liule knots of people lamenting and crying. Nothing is being sold· the liule bakery
and fruit stores were visited by the authorities the previous evening and all their goods req-
uisitioned. Deep gloom hangs over the traders and their customers. With a sense of outrage
they point to the large delicatessen stores on the Krestdatik whid have not been molested.
“Tey have protection,” someone says indignantly.
“My God, my God!” a woman cries. “lt’s we poor people who gave that banquet to the
* * *
She was introduced to me as Gallina — a young woman in peasant dress, but of graceful
figure, and with thoughtful blue eyes. “Gallina`” l wondered. “Yes, Makhno’s wife.”
Surprise and fear for her safety struggled with my admiration of her courage. Her pres-
ence in Kiev, in the very lair of the Tdeka, means certain death were she to be recognized.
Yet she has braved imminent peril and great difficulties in crossing the front. She has busi-
ness in the city for the povstantsi, she said: she has also brought a message from Nestor· he
is very anxious to have lmma Goldman and myself visit him. He is not far from the city,
and arrangements could be made to enable us to see him.
Her manner was reserved, almost shy: but she was very positive in her views, and her
expression clear and definite. She looked so frail and alone, l was overwhelmingly conscious,
of the great danger to whidshe was exposing herself. She gave me the feeling of a diminutive
David rising up to smite Goliath.
“l’m not afraid,” she said simply. “You know, l usually accompany Nestor, and he is
always at the head of his men,” she added with quiet pride.
She spoke with mud warmth of Makhno’s military ability, his great popularity among
the peasantry, and the success of his campaigns against Denikin. But she s not uncritical,
nor a blind hero-worshiper. On the contrary, she dwelt mud more on the significance and
purpose of the rebel peasant movement than on the role of its individual leaders. ln the
Makhnovstdina she sees the hope of Russia’s liberation from the yoke of White generals,
pomeshtiki (landlords), and Bolshevik commissarship. Te one is as hateful to her as the
other, both equally subversive of liberty and the Revolution.
“l regard the povstantsi movement,” she said, “as the only true proletarian revolution.
Bolshevism is the mastery of the Communist Party, falsely called the dictatorship of the
proletariat. lt is very far from our conception of revolution. lt is the rulership of a caste, of
the socialist intelligentsia whid has imposed its theories upon the toilers. Teir aim is State
Communism, with the workers and farmers of the whole country serving as employees of
the one powerful government master. lts result is the most abject slavery, suppression, and
revolt, as we see on every hand. But the people themselves — the proletarians of city and
country — have an entirely different ideal, even though to a great extent only instinctive.
Tey ignore all parties and are antagonistic to the political intellectuals: they distrust the
non-working, privileged elements. Our aim is the class organization of the revolutionary
toiling masses. Tat is the sense of the great Ukrainian movement, and its best expression is
to be found in the Makhnovstdina. Without the help of government or political parties the
peasants drove away the landlords: by their own efforts they secured the land. Teir military
units have successfully fought every counter-revolutionary force. Te Bolsheviki with their
Red Army usually came into the already freed district, there to impose their mastery upon
city and country, and proclaim their dictatorship. ls it any wonder the people hate them and
fight them as biuerly as the Whites`”
She is a typical specimen of the rebel Ukrainian, of the type molded in the crucible of
hard revolutionary life. All night we talked of the burning problems of the South, of the needs
of the peasantry, and the activities of the povstantsi, whose beloved and almost venerated
leader is bat’ka' Makhno, the Stenka Razin of the Revolution.
She related stories of the great devotion of the peasantry to Nestor and told interest-
ing anecdotes of his campaigns. Once, when Makhno with a small company found himself
surrounded by a large Bolshevik force, he caused a marriage to be performed in the village
occupied by the enemy. Makhno’s men in borrowed holiday auire auended the celebration,
their famous “sawed off” guns hidden upon their bodies. ln the midst of the carousal, the
Red soldiers the worse for the liquor freely supplied by the villagers, the pretended holiday
makers opened fire, taking the Bolshevik garrison by surprise and puuing them to flight.
Te very mention of Makhno’s name, Gallina said, brings terror to the enemy and fre-
quently whole companies of the Red Army join his forces. Commissars and Communists —
identical terms to the povstantsi — find no mercy, but the common soldier is always given
the doice of remaining with him or going free.
“Tat was the case also,” she continued in her melodious voice, “with Grigoriev’s army.
You have heard of him, haven’t you, comrade` He was an officer of the Tsar, but at the
outbreak of the Revolution he became a free lance. At one time he was with Petlura, then
he fought him, and later he joined the Red Army. He was just a military adventurer, though
not without some ability. He was very vain, loving to style himself the Ataman of Kher-
sonstdina, because his greatest successes were in that province. later he turned against the
Bolsheviki and invited Makhno to make common cause with him. But Nestor found out
that Grigoriev was planning to join Denikin: besides, he was guilty of many pogroms. Te
slaughter of Jews he organized in Yekaterinoslav in May of last year (1)1)) was especially
atrocious. Makhno decided to eliminate him. He called a meeting, to whid the Ataman and
his men were invited. lt was a large gathering at whid zc,ccc peasants and povstantsi were
present.´ Nestor publicly accused Grigoriev of counter-revolutionary designs, darged him
with pogroms and denounced him as an enemy of the people. Te Ataman and his staff were
executed on the spot. Almost his whole force joined our povstantsi.”
Gallina spoke of executions in an even, ordinary tone, as of mauers of common occur-
rence. life in the Ukraina, among the rebel peasantry, had made constant struggle and vi-
olence the habitual tenor of her existence. Occasionally she would slightly raise her voice
in indignation when reports of Jew baiting by povstantsi were mentioned. She felt deeply
outraged by sud base misrepresentation. Tese stories were deliberately spread by the Bol-
sheviki, she averred. No one could be more severe in punishing sud excesses than Nestor.
Some of his best comrades are Jews: there are a number Of them in the Revolutionary Soviet
'lather, leader.
´Took place in the village of Sentovo, Kherson province, July z¯, 1)1).
and in other brandes of the army. lew men are so loved and respected by the povstantsi as
Yossif, the lmigrant, who is a Jew, and Makhno’s best friend.
“We are not sud barbarians as we are painted,” she said with a darming smile. “But you
will learn more about us when you visit us, whid will not be far off, l hope.”
She listened wistfully to the news from the Western world, and plied me with questions
about life in America and the auitude of its workers to, Russia. Te role of women on the
“other side” was of intense interest to her, and she was eager to procure books dealing at
length with the subject. She looked dejected on learning that almost nothing was known
in the States about the Ukrainian peasant movement, but she recovered quicly, remarking·
“Naturally, for we are so isolated. But some day they will know.”
Te night had turned to dawn, and all too quicly the morning was breaking. lt was
high time for Gallina to be on her way. Regretfully she len us, expressing her confidence in
our speedy meeting in the camp of Makhno. ln complete self-possession she stepped out of
the house, while with bated breath we accompanied her at a distance, fearful lest a dance
identification result fatally for the daring girl.
Chapter 31
e Teka
A pall hangs over the home of my friend Kolya, the tailor. His wife is ill, the dildren ne-
glected, dirty, and hungry. Te plumbing is out of order, and water must be carried from
the next street, four flights up. Kolya always performed the heavy work: his absence falls
heavily upon the liule family.
lrom time to time the neighbors look in on the sic woman. “Your husband will soon
return,” they assure her deerfully, but l know that all their efforts to find him have proved
fruitless. Kolya is in the Tdeka.
Te workers of the clothing factory where my friend is employed have of late been very
discontented. Teir main complaint concerns the arbitrary methods of the yateika, the
liule group of Communists within every Soviet institution. lriction between them and the
shop commiuee resulted in the arrest of the lauer. ln protest the workers declared a strike.
Tree delegates were sent to the Tdeka with the request to release the prisoners, but the men
disappeared, and Kolya was among them.
“Tey call the strikers counter-revolutionists, Kolya’s sister said. “Tey have made a list
of the ‘opppsition’ in the shop, and every day someone is missing.”
“lt’s the old Pirro methods,” remarked a neighbor, a young woman in darge of a dildren’s
dining room.
“Pirro methods`” l asked in surprise.
“Don’t you know the Pirro affair` lt was of a piece with the usual methods of latsis, then
head of the All-Ukrainian lxtraordinary Commission. lt wasin the summer of 1)1), and the
Kiev Tdeka was working — ”
“Working — that’s right, just the proper word,” interrupted her brother.
“Yes, ‘working’ under high pressure,” she continued, “under instructions of Peters, who
came fromMoscownowand then. His presence in the city was always the signal for renewed
arrests and shooting. Well, one day the Soviet papers announced the arrival of Count Pirro,
Brazilian Ambassador. l was at the time employed in the Chinese Consulate, whid gave
a gala dinner in honor of the Count, on whid occasion l made his acquaintance. l was
surprised to find the Brazilian speaking excellent Russian, but he explained that he had spent
many years in our country before the Revolution. He sighed over the old days, and did not
in the least disguise his unfriendliness to Bolshevism and its methods.
“Within a few days he began to organize his staff on a large scale. He asked me and my
friends to recommend people for work in his consulate. ‘lxcept Bolsheviki,’ he said. ‘l want
only bourgeois and intellectuals who have no sympathy with the Communists. Tey’ll be safe
with me,’ he told us in confidence, hinting at the wholesale destruction of the intelligentsia
by the Tdeka. Many hastened to offer their services to the Count, eager for the protection
offered. Pirro accepted them all, placing some in his offices, while others were put on the
waiting list, and their names and addresses, recorded. To be brief, within a short time they
were all arrested and most of them shot, among them Mme. Popladskaya, Pirro’s personal
secretary, whom he was pretending to help join her husband in Paris. Pirro, disappeared,
but he was seen to leave town in Peters’ automobile. lt soon became known that the alleged
Brazilian Count was an agentof the Tdeka, a provocateur. Many people in Kiev are positive
that it was Peters himself.”
l related to my friend an incident whid occurred soon aner our lxpedition arrived in
the city. larly one morning a visitor called at our car, requesting to see the predsedatel. Of
commanding stature, well proportioned, and straight as a young pine, he was a fine specimen
of physical manhood. He had just returned from the front, he said, as if in explanation of
his ridiculously belligerent appearance· two heavy guns hung from his belt, a Tderkassian
dagger between them: at his side he carried a long sword, and a huge alarm whistle, set in
silver, was suspended from his nec. His features were clean cut, nose aquiline, the sensuous
lips somewhat shaded by a full beard. But the most striking feature were his eyes, the color
of steel, cold, sharp, and piercing.
He introduced himself as an army man who had fought on every baulefield in the
Ukraina. But he was tired of war and bloodshed, he said: he wanted a rest or at least a
more peaceful occupation. Te work of our lxpedition appealed to him. Could he not be
of service to us` Surely a large city like Kiev could not be thoroughly canvassed during our
short stay. He would therefore suggest that we appoint a local man as our representative to
continue the work aner our lxpedition should leave. He would consider himself honored to
aid our important mission.
Tere was nothing unusual in his proposal, since it is our practice to leave an autho-
rized person in the larger cities to supply the Museum with documents of current history.
We promised to consider his application, and within a few days he called again. l thought
he looked strangely animated, perhaps even under the influence of drink. He immediately
launded into exaggerated assurances of his fitness as our collaborator. He knew every im-
portant Communist in the city, he asserted: he was even on terms of intimacy with most of
them. Te previous night, he declared, he had spent in the company of high-placed com-
missars, among whom was also the dief of the Tdeka. With that he began a recital of its
activities, relating revolting details of torture and execution. He spoke with increasing fer-
vor, and growing excitement. At last he announced himself a commandant. He had shot
many counter-revolutionists, he boasted, and he had never felt any qualms about his work.
His eyes gleamed with a fierce, savage fire, and suddenly he drew the dagger from his belt.
leaning over close to me and wildly waving the weapon, he cried, “look at it — it’s bloody
to the hilt.” Ten he fell bac into a dair, exhausted, and with a toud of sentimentality he
muuered· “l’ve had enough — l’m tired — l want a rest.”
“To judge from your description,” remarked the young woman, “it must have been X—,
one of the most notorious executioners of the provincial Tdeka. He is given to sud es-
capades, especially when under the influence of drugs, for he is addicted to cocaine. One, of
his hobbies is to get himself photographed — like this.”
She rose, searded a moment among her effects, and handed me a small picture. lt repre-
sented a man entirely nude, gun in hand, in the posture of taking deliberate aim. l recognized
our visitor.
* * *
August 27, 1920. — Rumors of Bolshevik reverses are delaying our departure. Tere are
persistent reports of Red Army defeats· Odessa is said to be evacuating, an enemy fleet in
the Blac Sea auacing the city, and Wrangel marding against it from the Crimea.
Nothing definite is to be ascertained in the general confusion, but from authoritative
circles we have learned that Red forces are being concentrated in the vicinity. Te new
developments, Yossif has informed me, compelled Makhno to retire from the province. To
my great regret our plan of meeting the povstantsi leader becomes impracticable for the
present. With mud anxiety l think of Gallina and her safety in the new turn of affairs.
Our lxpedition faces the alternative of returning to Moscowor proceeding further South.
ln spite of insistent advice to the contrary, we decide to continue according to our sdedule,
whid includes Odessa and the Caucasus.
Chapter 32
Odessa: Life and Vision
September 2, 1920. —late yesterday anernoon we readed Odessa, our liule commune greatly
disturbed over the fate of Alsberg. Our traveling companion, whose deerful spirit and ready
helpfulness contributed so mud toward making our journey more pleasant, was arrested on
August !c, while we were stopping in Zhmerinka. Te local Tdeka agents had received
orders from Moscow to “return the American correspondent,” because he had gone to the
Ukraina “without the knowledge” of the authorities. ln vain we argued and produced Zi-
noviev’s leuer giving Alsberg permission to join the lxpedition. He was removed from the
train, to be taken under convoy to Moscow. Te wires we sent to lenin, Zinoviev, and
Balabanova, protesting against the arrest and urging the release of our friend, have so far
remained unanswered.
Te great city, formerly the most important shipping center of the country, was shrouded
in darkness, its electric supply station having been almost completely destroyed by fire sev-
eral days previously. With considerable difficulty we found our way to one of the principal
thoroughfares. On the corner we were detained by a militsioner who informed us that it
is forbidden to be about aner sunset, except by special permission. lt required considerable
persuasion before the officer was convinced of our “reliability” and permiued us to return to
the car. Our first impressions seemed to justify the disconcerting reports we had heard en
No more deerful is the once beautiful city in the glow of the bright morning sun. lew
persons are on the streets: the houses and parks are neglected: the pavements broken and
filthy. lverywhere is evidence of the poverty and suffering in the wake of foreign occupa-
tion and civil war. lood is very scarce: prices exorbitantly high on the markets whid are
still permiued to operate. Te peasants of the district, systematically expropriated by their
danging masters, now refuse to plant more than is necessary for their own needs, leaving
the cities to their fate.
lxternally Odessa is quiet, and there is no sign of enemy warships in the harbor. But an
atmosphere of anxious suspense is felt everywhere· bands of Green and Makhno forces are
said to be in the neighborhood, and Wrangel is reported to have taken some villages northeast,
in the vicinity of Rostov. A spirit of qui vive pervades the Soviet bureaus, everyone wearing
a preoccupied air as if listening for the first note of alarm and ready to take flight.
Mud disorganization prevails in the unions. Te new Communist management has not
yet gained full control over the “liquidated” Menshevik and Anardist leadership. Many of the
lauer are still at the head of labor affairs, persistently elected by the workers in open defiance
of Communist orders. Among the opposition Shakhvorostov, an Anardist of militant type,
has sud a strong following that the Bolsheviki have not dared to remove him. Due to his
friendly efforts, the Soviet of Unions has decided to call a meeting of secretaries, whom l am
to address in the interest of the Museum.
Te non-partisan proletarians, who constitute the great body of labor, look with scorn
at the readiness of the Communists to flee should an enemy appear. Particularly the sailors
of the destroyed Blac Sea fleet, many of whom are in the city, resent the situation. Te
masses cannot evacuate, they say: the workers are doomed to remain, whoever comes, and
to fight it out as best they can. Have not the unions, aided by the peasantry, waged successful
guerrilla warfare against the Greek and ltalian forces and the White generals` Ten there
was no distinction of political party — all revolutionists fought side by side. But every time
the enemy is driven out, the Communists institute their dictatorship, seek to dominate the
revolutionary commiuee in darge of the safety of the city, and eliminate the old and tried
fighters. Te masses know how to protect themselves against invaders, but they resent the
domination of a political party that seeks to monopolize the Revolution.
* * *
Semyon Petrovitd, at whose home l spend considerable time, is an intelligent non-partisan of
independent views. An able statistician, he has been permiued by the Bolsheviki to remain
in the Department of lconomy, where he had served under previous regimes. Semyon is
convinced that the Soviet Government will find itself compelled to dange its methods and
practices. “Te ravager cannot long remain in the country he has ravaged” —he likes to repeat
the alleged saying of Denikin. But the ire of the gods, he asserts, pursues the Bolsheviki· even
their best intentions serve in practice to confound them. “Tey have closed the stores and
abolished private trade,” Semyon Petrovitd repeats, “they have nationalized, registered, and
taken an invoice of everything under the sun. One would think that complete order should
reign. lndeed, you cannot transfer a bed mauress from one apartment into another without
special permission of the proper authorities. lf you want to ride to the next station, you must
get an ‘order’: if you need a sheet of paper, you have to fill several sheets with applications.
lvery detail of our existence has become subject to Bolshevist regulation. ln short, you will
find the situation in Odessa about the same as in the rest of Russia,” Semyon assured me. “But
life passes by the Soviet apparatus, because life is incomparably stronger than any auempts
at doctrinaire regulation.”
As in other Soviet cities, the population is supplied with a bread and products card. But
except Communists, very few receive enough bread to exist. On the “bourgeois” categories
none has been issued for months: in fact, since the Bolsheviki took Odessa in January. Oc-
casionally a liule salt, sugar, and matdes are rationed out.
“lortunately the· markets are still permiued to exist,” Semyon explained. “Te govern-
ment cannot press out enough bread of the farmers to feed the cities. Te pyo is mostly a
vision. Tat reminds me of a certain commissar in our department, a rare type of Communist,
for he has a sense of humor. Once l asked him why the Bolsheviki nationalized everything
except the izvostiki (cabmen). His reply was daracteristic. ‘You see,’ he said, ‘we found
that if you don’t feed human beings, they continue to live somehow. But if you don’t feed
horses, the stupid beasts die. Tat’s why we don’t nationalize the cabmen.’ ”
life is indeed stronger than decrees: it sprouts through every crevice of the socialist armor.
When private trade was forbidden and only the coöperatives were permiued to continue,
all business places suddenly became inspired by feelings of altruism, and every store was
decorated with the sign of the Epo (cooperative). later, when the coöperatives were also
closed and only kustarnoye (small scale) production remained legal, all the liule stores began
manufacturing cigareue lighters and rubber soles from stolen automobile tires. Subsequently
newdecrees were issued permiuing trade only in articles of food. Tenin every store window
there appeared bread and tea surrogates, while other wares were sold in the rear rooms.
linally all food stores were closed: now the illicit trade is transferred to the storekeeper’s
home, and business is done on the bac stairs.
“Te Bolsheviki want to abolish private trade and destroy speculation,” Semyon re-
marked: “they want everyone to live exclusively by his labor. Yet in no place in the world is
there so mud speculation as in Russia: the whole country is swept by its fever. ‘National-
ization of trade means that the whole nation is in trade,’ our wits say. Te truth is, we have
all become speculators,” he continued sadly. “lvery family now depends more on the sale of
its table and bed linen than on the salaries paid by the Soviet Government. Te shopkeepers,
having lost their shops, still remain traders: and they are now joined by those who formerly
were workers, physical as well as intellectual. Necessity is stronger than laws, my dear friend.
Te real factory proletarians have become declassified· they have ceased to exist, as a class,
because most of the factories and mills are not working. Te workers flee into the country or
become meshotniki (bag-men, traders). Te Communist dictatorship has destroyed, but it
cannot build up.”
* * *
At the house of Dr. l— almost nightly gather liule groups of the local intelligentsia. A man
of broad culture and tolerance, l—’s home is neutral ground for the most diverse political
tendencies. His private sanatorium, beautifully situated on an enbankment washed by the
Blac Sea, was formerly famed as one of the best in Odessa. lt has been nationalized, but the
physician and his staff are exempt from professional mobilization and remain in darge. Dr.
l— is still permiued to receive a certain number of private patients, whid privilege enables
him to support himself and family in comparative comfort. ln return he is obliged to treat
without remuneration the sic assigned to the sanatorium by the authorities.
l— and his wife, herself a graduate physician, are hospitable in the best Russian spirit.
Tough their present mode of living is far below that of former days, every comer finds a
warm welcome whid includes an invitation to the dining room — a custom now almost en-
tirely fallen into disuse in Russia. With darming smile and graceful gesture Mme. l— passes
around tea, liule lumps of yellow candy, homemade from beet sugar, and sandwides, her
manner quite innocent of any suggestion of the saving quality of her service to her famished
Te sanatorium was requisitioned for the “benefit of the proletariat,” the doctor informs
me with a humorous twinkle in his eyes, but it is occupied exclusively by high Communist
officials and several members of the Tdeka. Among the lauer is also a Commissar, who
has repeatedly taken treatment in the institution. He suffers from acute neurosis and is an
habitual user of cocaine. ln spite of the near presence of the dreadful autocrat of life and
death, great freedom of speed prevails in l—’s home. lt is the tacit understanding among his
guests that the place is a free forum, a “sanctuary for the crime of thought.” Yet l notice that
when a Communist happens to be present, expression is less spontaneous, more controlled.
l recall the arrest of the frequenters of a similar oasis in Moscow, betrayed by a member of
the family, a Bolshevik. Might not sud a misfortune also happen here` Yet Dr. G—, the
Menshevik colleague of the host, is most outspoken against the Bolsheviki whom he holds up
to ridicule, as counterfeit Marxists. Te Zionists and literati present, among them Byalik, the
greatest living Jewish poet, are more temperate in their criticism of the dictatorship. Teir
auitude is prompted by their love of the Jewry and its aspirations as a nation. Tey tell of the
many vain efforts their most venerated representatives, have made in the interests of justice
to their coreligionists, only to be met with scorn and insult. R—, the noted Hebrew author,
relates the incident of his visit to the dief of the Tdeka, to seek protection for two friends
unjustly accused of speculation and in danger of being shot. ln the reception room, while
awaiting audience with the predsedatel, he was abused by the Tdekists, among whom he
recognized several members of the old police force and two well-known criminals of former
days. “You are insulting the Soviet power by interceding for the arrested,” the Tdeka Chief
told him. Te author urged the innocence of the accused. “lf you plead for speculators, you
are no beuer than they,” the Chief retorted. Both men were executed without trial.
Trough an open window l look out upon the broad expanse of the Blac Sea below. lt is
a quiet moonlit night. Te low murmur of the waters pleasantly strikes upon the ear, as the
white-capped waves with musical regularity read the shore, sonly splash against the rocs,
and silently recede. Tey return to caress the sentinel wall that seems to draw closer toward
them as if yearning for their embrace. A gentle breeze floats into the room.
Angry voices recall me to the company. Te young Bundist' D— is involved in a virulent
dispute with his former comrade turned Communist. D— darges the Bolsheviki with having
stooped to a partnership with the notorious Odessa criminals who were organized into regi-
'Der Bund — an organization of Jewish Socialists.
ments and possessed weapons and madine guns. Tey had first helped Ataman Grigoriev to
take the city, and were later used by the Communists for the same purpose. lndebted to the
thieves, the Bolsheviki did not molest them in the first days of their Odessa régime, and the
“professional union” was permiued to “work” the city. Subsequently, the Soviet Government
declared war upon them, but the leading spirits saved their lives by joining the Tdeka.
Te Communist vehemently denies that any agreement had existed between his Party
and the criminals, though he admits that in some instances the thieves’ union aided the
work of the Bolsheviki. Te argument is becoming dangerously heated: Mme. l—, grown
apprehensive, holds up a warning hand. “lriends, tovarishti,” she cautions them, “please
not so loud.”
“Do not worry,” the host laughs, “it’s the usual thing when these two come together. Tey
are old friends: relatives, at that, for the ex-Bundist married the Bundist’s sister.”
“lt is an open question,” observes Z—, the literary investigator, “whether the Bolsheviki
had a formal agreement with the thieves. But that they coöperated at one time is known
to all of us. Well, they were also proletarians,” he adds sarcastically. “later, of course, the
Communists turned against them. But a similar fate has befallen most of us. Te len S. R. S.,
the Maximalists, the Anardists, did they not all fight together with the Communists against
the Whites` And where are they now` Tose who did not die on the fronts have been shot
or imprisoned by the Red dictators, unless they have been bribed or cowed into serving the
“Only weaklings would save their lives thus,” the hostess protests.
“lew can be brave with a loaded gun pointed at their temple,” the Doctor remarks with
a sigh.
lt is a cold, dilly day as l turn my steps toward Sadovaya Street. Tere, at a secret session,
is to take place a Menshevik costnaya gazea (oral newspaper), and l am to meet prominent
members of the party.
Te “oral newspaper” is the modern Russian surrogate for a free press. Deprived of oppor-
tunity to issue their publications, the suppressed Socialist and revolutionary elements resort
to this method. ln some private dwelling or “conspirative lodgings” they gather, as in the
days of the Tsar, but with even greater danger and more dread of the all-pervading presence
of the Tdeka. Tey come to the “lodgings” singly, stealthily, like criminals conscious of guilt,
fearful of observation and discovery. lrequently they fall into an ambush· the house maybe
in the hands of a zassada, though no sign of it is perceptible on the outside. No one having
entered, however innocently or accidentally, may depart, not even a neighbor’s dild come
to borrow a dish or some water for a sic member of the family. None is permiued to leave,
that he may not give warning to possible victims. Sud a zassada generally lasts for many
hours, onen even for several days and nights: when it is finally lined, those caught in the
net are turned over to the Tdeka. lucy if the darge of counterrevolution or banditism be
not made, and the prisoners released aner several weeks of detention. But the “leaders,” the
known revolutionists, are kept for months, even for years, without a hearing or darge.
lt is dusk. ln the unlighted, dingy room it is difficult to recognize the half score of men
occupying dairs, smoking and talking in subdued voices. Te person for whom l inquire
has not yet arrived, and l find myself a stranger in the place. l notice nervous glances in
my direction: the men near me regard me with frank suspicion. One by one they leave their
seats: l see them gathering in a corner, casting inimical looks at me. As l approad them, they
cease talking and eye me defiantly. Teir manner is militant, and presently l am surrounded
by the hostile crowd.
“May l see Comrade P—`” l inquire.
“Who may you be`” some one demands ironically.
To ally their suspicions, l ask for tovarisht Astrov, the famous Menshevik leader, with
whom l have an appointment. lxplanations follow, and at last the men appear satisfied
regarding my identity. “You are looking for Astrov`” they ask in surprise. “Don’t you know`
Haven’t you heard`”
“He’s been arrested this morning.”
Biuer indignation and excitement prevail in labor and revolutionary circles as a result
of the arrest. Astrov, a well-known Socialist, is a personality respected throughout Russia.
His opposition to the Bolsheviki is purely intellectual, excluding hostile activities against the
Government. lt is reported, however, that the authorities hold him “morally responsible”
for the wave of strikes that has recently swept the city. Astrov’s comrades are distracted at
their failure to ascertain the fate of their leader. Te Tdeka declines to accept a peredata
(pacages of food or clothing), an omen whid inspires the worst fears. lt indicates strictest
isolation — it may even signify that the prisoner has been shot.´
* * *
More hated even than in Kiev is the Tdeka in Odessa. Ghastly stories are told of its methods
and the ruthlessness of the predsedatel, a former immigrant from Detroit. Te personnel
of the institution consists mostly of old gendarme officers and criminals whose lives had
been spared “for services to be rendered in fighting counter-revolution and speculation.” Te
lauer is particularly proscribed, the “highest form of punishment” — shooting — being meted
out to offenders. lxecutions take place daily. Te doomed are piled into automobile trucs,
face downward, and driven to the outskirts of the city. Te long line of the death-vehicles
is escorted by mounted men riding wildly and firing into the air — a warning to close the
windows. At the appointed place the procession halts. Te victims are made to undress and
to take their places at the edge of the already prepared common grave. Shots resound — the
bodies, some lifeless, some merely wounded, fall into the hole and are hastily covered with
But though the “speculation” is forbidden and the possession or exdange of Tsarist
money is frequently punished by death, the members of the Tdeka themselves receive part of
their salary in tsarskiye, whose purdasing power is many times that of Soviet paper. Tere
´Astrov later died in prison.
is considerable circulation of the forbidden currency on the markets, and it is rumored that
Tdeka agents themselves are the dief dealers. l refuse to believe the darge till a member
of the lxpedition informs me that he succeeded in advantageously converting some of the
tsarskiye, officially given us in Moscow, into Soviet money. “You are taking a great risk in
exdanging,” l warn him.
“No risk at all,” he replied gleefully. “Do you think l am tired of life that l would sell on
the open market` l traded it through an old friend, and it was the good man N— himself who
did the liule business for me.”
N— is a high placed magistrate of the Tdeka.
* * *
With lmma Goldman l auend a gathering of local Anardists come to meet the “comrades
from, America.” Te large room is filled with a mixed company — students and workers, So-
viet employees, soldiers, and some sailors. lvery non-governmental tendency is represented·
there are followers of Kropotkin and of Stirner, adherents of positivism and immediate ac-
tionists, with a number of Sovietsky Anardists, so called because of their friendly auitude
to the Bolsheviki.
lt is an informal assembly of the widest divergence of opinion. Some denounce the Com-
munists as reactionary: others believe in their revolutionary motives, but entirely disapprove
of their methods. Several consider the present stage as a transitory but inevitable phase of
the Revolution. But the majority deny the historic existence of sud a period. Progress,
they claim, is a continuous process, every step foreshadowing and shaping the next. long-
continued despotism and terror destroy the possibilities of future liberty and brotherhood.
Te most animated discussion revolves about the proletarian dictatorship. lt is the basic
problem, determined by one’s conception of revolution and in turn determining one’s auitude
to the Bolsheviki. Te younger element unreservedly condemn the Party dictatorship with
its violence and bloodshed, its punitive measures, and general counter-revolutionary effects.
Te Sovietsky Anardists, though regreuing the ruthlessness of Communist practice, consider
dictatorship inevitable at certain stages of the revolution. Te discussion is drawn out for
hours, and the vital question is obscured by theoretic assertions. l feel that the years of storm
and stress have entirely uprooted the old values without having clarified new concepts of
reality and vision.
“Can you suggest something definite in place of the dictatorship`” l ask at last. “Te
situation demands a unified purpose.”
“What we have is a dictatorship over the proletariat,” retorts an enthusiastic Kropotkinist.
“Tat is begging the question. Not the faults and shortcomings of the Bolsheviki are
at issue, but the dictatorship itself. Does not the success of the Revolution presuppose the
forcible abolition of the bourgeoisie and the imposing of the proletarian will upon society`
ln short, a dictatorship`”
“Assuredly,” assents the young woman at my side, a len Social Revolutionist: “but not
the dictatorship of the proletariat only. Rather the dictatorship of the toilers, including the
peasantry as well as the city workers.”
“lf the Communists would not persecute the Anardists, l’d be with them,” remarks an
lndividualist Anardist.
Te others scorn his narrow partisanship, but the Kropotkinists refuse to accept dicta-
torship. Tere may be times during a revolutionary period where violence, even organized
force, becomes necessary, they admit. But these mauers must rest in the hands of the workers
themselves and not be institutionalized in sud bodies as the Tdeka, whose work is detri-
mental and fosters a counter-revolutionary spirit among the violated masses.
Te discussion gives no promise of reading a basis for common work with the Bolsheviki.
Most of those present have for years consecrated themselves to their ideal, have suffered per-
secution and imprisonment till at last the Revolution triumphed. Now they find themselves
outlawed even by the Communists. Tey are deeply outraged by the “advance guard of the
proletariat” turning executioners of the best revolutionary elements. Te abyss is too wide
to be bridged. With deep sorrow l think of the devotion, ability, and idealism thus lost to the
Revolution, and of the fratricidal strife the situation inevitably involves.
* * *
September 3, 1920. — Wrangel is reported to be advancing northwest aner having defeated
the Red Army in several engagements. Budenny’s cavalry is in retreat, leaving open the
road to Rostov. Alyoshki, a suburb of Kherson, is invested by the Whites, and refugees are
streaming into Odessa. Official silence feeds popular nervousness, and the wildest rumors
are gaining circulation.
Our work in the city is completed, but the new military situation makes it impossible
to continue our journey southeast, toward the Caucasus, as originally planned. We have
therefore decided that the lxpedition remain in Odessa, while two of its members auempt to
read Nikolayev, there to determine the possibilities of proceeding further. Te, predsedatel
and secretary have been dosen for the task.
My colleagues have already len the city to take up their quarters in the car. With our
secretary, Alexandra Shakol, l am loading the collected material on a cart. Tere is a large
quantity, and the underfed old mare is barely able to pull the weight. lt is pouring, the
pavement is broken and slippery: the poor beast seems about to collapse.
“Your horse is exhausted,” l remark to the driver, a peasant woman.
She does not reply. Te reins have fallen out of her bands, her head is bent forward, and
her body is shaken as if with the ague.
“What is the mauer, matushka?” l call to her.
She looks up. Her eyes are red and tears are coursing down her deeks, leaving streaks
of yellow dirt behind. “Curses be upon you!” she muuers between sobs.
Te horse has stopped. Te rain is pouring with increased force, the dill pierces knife-
“Cursed be you all!” she cries vehemently.
We try to soothe her. Te Secretary, a native Russian, herself of peasant stoc, impulsively
kisses the old woman on both deeks. By snatdes we learn that two days ago she had carted
a load of hay to the city, part of her village’s share of the razvyorstka. Returning home she
was halted by a requisitioning detadment. She pleaded that her caule had long ago been
confiscated and only the one horse len her: as the widow of a Red Army man she is exempt
from further requisition. But she had no documents with her, and she was taken to the police
station. Te Commissar berated his men for impressing an unfit animal for army duty, and
the woman was overjoyed. But as she was about to leave, he detained her. “Your horse will
do for light jobs,” he said: “you will give us three days’ labor duty.”
She has been working two days now, receiving only half a pound of bread and no fodder
for the beast except a liule straw. Tis morning she was ordered to our quarters.
Most of the vehicles and horses have been nationalized: those still privately owned are
subject to temporary requisition by the Tramot (transport bureau) for a specified number
of hours weekly. ln vain we hail the passing izvostiki; all pretend to be “on Soviet duty.”
Te woman grows hysterical. Te horse is apparently unable to move further. Te rain is
weuing our material, the wind tearing at our newspaper files and blowing precious leaves
into the street. At last with voices and shoulders we induce the horse to proceed, and aner
a long ride we read the railroad station. Tere we hastily write a “receipt” testifying that
the “requisitioned peasant and horse” have fulfilled their labor duty, give the woman a dunk
of bread and a few tidbits for her dildren, and send her home bowing and repeating, “Bless
you, good barin (master), God bless you.”
Chapter 33
Dark People
Railroad communication between Odessa and Nikolayev is suspended, but we have been
informed that a motor truc belonging to the Maritime Ossobiy Otdel (Tdeka) is to leave for
that city at midnight on September e.
Accompanied by the Secretary, l proceeded early in the evening to the place of departure.
lor hours, we tramped unfamiliar streets and tortuous alleys without finding the appointed
place. learfully my companion clung to me, Odessa’s reputation for lawlessness and the
brutality of its bandit element filling us with alarm. ln the darkness we lost our bearings
and kept circling within the crooked alleys near the docs, when suddenly there came the
command, “Who goes there`” and we faced guards pointing guns at us. lortunately we had
secured the military password.
“Tula-Tar — ”
“Tarantass,” the soldier completed, permiuing us to pass and directing us on our way.
lt was aner z A.M. when we readed the Maritime Otdel. But no madine was in sight,
and we were overwhelmed with disappointment at the thought that we had missed the rare
opportunity of reading Nikolayev. lnquiries at the Tdeka elicited the unwilling information
that the motor had not yet arrived, and no one knew when it was due.
We spent the night in the street, the Tdekists refusing us permission to remain indoors.
At five in the morning the car arrived, piled high with clothing and ammunition for the
Nikolayev garrison. Qicly we climbed to the top, soon to be joined by a number of sol-
diers accompanied by women. lverything seemed ready for the start, when the dauffeur
announced that the gasoline issued him was not sufficient to carry us to our destination,
zcc miles northeast. A short, heavy-set sailor, addressed as commandant and apparently in
darge of the journey, gruffly ordered everyone off the truc. His command ignored, he drew
a revolver, and we all made haste to obey.
“Now you’ll have enough juice,” he declared.
Te soldiers protested· they were the convoy sent to accompany the consignment to
Nikolayev. Swearing and cursing, the drunken sailor consented to their riding, and they
climbed bac pulling several girls up aner them.
“No heifers!” the sailor shouted, but the women, stretding themselves on top of the load,
paid no auention. Te commandant got into a violent altercation with the dauffeur, accusing
himof delaying the departure and threatening to arrest him. Te driver pleaded that the truc
had not been loaded on time: its belated arrival was not his fault. Te Tdekist cursed and
swore in a manner that surpassed anything l had ever before heard in Russia, the variegated
complexity of his oaths defying even approximate rendering into lnglish. Meanwhile the
number of passengers had increased. Te sailor grew furious, and again displaying his Colt,
he forced everyone to climb down. Tree times the process was repeated, no one daring to
resist the drunken commandant. We stood in the driving rain, the uncovered clothing on
the truc geuing soaked, while the dauffeur was pretending to be busy with the madine,
yet stealthily watding the Tdekist. Presently the lauer walked out of the yard, whereupon
the driver also disappeared. Aner an hour he returned carrying a large can and followed by
half a score of men and women. He announced that all was in readiness, and there began a
scramble of the new arrivals for a place. At last the huge madine got into motion, the living
mass on top desperately clinging for support as we gradually gained speed. “You’ll never
make half the way with that load,” the commandant shouted, rushing out into the street and
threateningly waving his gun.
Over hills, down valleys, and across fields the auto sped, the dauffeur driving reclessly
and every moment endangering our lives as the madine tore its way over large holes in the
ground or wildly rushed down steep inclines. Our route lay along the sea and over waste
land still bearing evidence of past military activities. Te large estate of Sukhomlinov, the
great Russian magnate, stretded for miles before us entirely deserted, the celebrated caule
appropriated by the villagers, the place now uncultivated. “No seed,” laconically commented
one of the peasants. “What would be the use`” another replied.
long lines of wagons drawn by oxen and loaded with flour and potatoes crawled in the
distance — the proceeds of the razvyorstka being delivered to Odessa.
Te sailors, talkative and jolly, passed their time railing at the three peasants, typical
Ukrainians. Te lauer took their banter in good humor, somewhat awed and not always
comprehending the full drin of the slangy Russian. Tey were mud friendlier with the sol-
diers, themselves Ukrainians, and presently they began exdanging experiences. Tey hailed
from Krasnoye Selo: the razvyorstka tax upon their village was very heavy, and the local
Soviet had sent them to Odessa to secure a reduction of the assessment. But they received
no satisfaction in the big city: they spent days in line at the various bureaus without ac-
complishing anything. Most of the officials just laughed at them: others ignored them. One
Commissar even threatened to arrest them. life has become harder than ever before, they
complained. Under the Tsar they had been serfs: the White generals, robbed them of their
sons and caule. Tey had set great hopes upon the Bolsheviki. “But it is the same whoever
comes,” the peasants sighed: “for us poor people it’s always the same.”
Two of the soldiers had participated in the campaign against Makhno, and they were ex-
danging experiences. Tey spoke freely of his exploits, of the original methods that enabled
him to defeat greatly superior forces, and of the numerous times he had been surrounded by
White or Red armies, yet always escaping, onen in a most miraculous manner. Tey admired
the clever ruse by whid Makhno took Yekaterinoslav, then in the hands of Petlura. A hand-
ful of his men, dressed as peasants, crossed the bridge leading to the lower part of the city,
with their arms hidden in carts. On reading the other side, they unexpectedly opened fire
on the Petlura men guarding the approades. Te sudden auac struc panic to the garrison,
and Makhno’s army easily took the city.
“We’ve got to catd him,” one of the soldiers concluded, as if in self-justification, “but you
can’t deny it, he’s a molodets (daring fellow).”
Both of them had once been taken prisoners by Makhno. Teir last hour had come,
they thought, as together with other captives they were led before the feared bat’ka. A
slender young man with sharp, piercing eyes faced them sternly and began haranguing them.
Bolshevik Commissars were no beuer than White generals, he said: both oppressed the people
and robbed the peasants. He, Makhno, would defend the Revolution against all enemies. He
promised that the prisoners would be given the doice of joining the povstantsi or going
home, but the Red soldiers feared Makhno was deriding them. Yet he kept his word.
“Bat’ka kills only Jews and Commissars,” one of the peasants drawled.
ln the evening we stopped at Krasnoye Selo, in the district of the German colonies. Te
liule frame houses, white-washed and clean, were a pleasant contrast to the straw-thatded,
dirty izba of the Russian peasant. lew men were to be seen, most of them draned in the
White or Red armies. Only women, dildren, and very old peasants were about. With my
companion l followed a party of sailors and soldiers in seard of lodgings for the night. At
our approad the villagers ran terrified indoors. Te sailors ordered them to bring food,
but the women, weeping and imploring for mercy, called God to witness that the recent
razvyorstka had taken their last provisions. Tey could offer only bread and country deese.
Te Tdekists swore at them, fingered their guns, and demanded to be taken to the cellar.
Tere they appropriated whatever eatables they could find.
Distressed l len with my companion to seek hospitality for ourselves. Word had passed of
the arrival of “the Commissars,” and the houses were barricaded. Aner many vain auempts
we gained admission to a khata at the furthest end of the village. lt was occupied by a
woman and her three dildren, the oldest a girl of fourteen, whom her mother had hidden
at our approad. She accepted our offer to pay, and set blac bread and sour milk before
us. Soon the neighbors began to drop in. Tey stood timidly on the threshold, observing us
with unfriendly eyes and exdanging whispered remarks, Gradually they gained confidence,
advanced toward the table, and began conversing. Tey were totally ignorant of the events
in the world at large: what was happening in Russia, even, was entirely incomprehensible to
them. Tey knew that the Tsar was no more and that freedom had been given the peasant.
But they felt some huge deceit had been played on the “dark people” by those in high places.
Tey were constantly harassed by the military, they complained: soldiers of every kind and
armed men without uniforms kept swooping down upon the village, taxing, confiscating, and
pillaging. One by one their male folks had been draned, onen not even knowing into what
army, and then the boys began to be taken, as young as sixteen. Generals and commissars kept
coming and carrying the last away, and now all the caule are gone, and the fields cannot be
worked except by hand in liule patdes, and even the smallest dildren must help. lrequently
the older girls are dragged away by officers and soldiers, returning later hurt and sic. ln a
neighboring village the punitive expedition whipped old peasants on the public square. ln a
place thirty versts from Krasnoye eighteen peasants hanged themselves aner the commissars
had len.
“ls it as bad in other parts`” my hostess asked. “How is it in Germany — my people come
from there.”
“Germany has also had a revolution,” l informed her. “Te Kaiser is gone.”
“Rev-o-lution`” she repeated in uuer incomprehension. “Did Germany have war`”
l spent the night on a straw heap in the outhouse, joining our party early in the morning.
Te scenes of the previous day repeated themselves all along our route.
* * *
A very old city and once an important shipbuilding center, Nikolayev has played a prominent
part in the labor and socialist history of Russia. lt was the scene of the first great strike in
the country, in the early days of the nineteenth century. ln the “Nihilist” and “People’s Will”
period, it was the field of mud underground revolutionary activity. ln later years Nikolayev
was the home of the “South Russian Union,” one of the first Social-Democratic groups in
lower Ukraina, with Trotsky as its intellectual leader. Among the old ardives we came upon
documents relating to the case of Netdayev, whid in some strange manner found their way
there, though that famous terrorist had never been arrested in this city. We also discovered
police “seard orders” issued against lopatin, Bakunin, and other celebrated revolutionists of
that period.
Nikolayev still retains some of its former beauty, though its boulevards have been en-
tirely denuded of trees, cut down within the two days’ interregnum between the leaving of
the Whites and the coming of the Bolsheviki. Te streets are oppressively quiet· the city
is in direct line of Wrangel’s advance. Te Communists are feverishly active to rouse the
population to united defense, appealing particularly to the proletarians and reminding them
of the slaughter of the workers by Slastdev, Wrangel’s dief general, notorious as a labor
Te auitude of the surrounding districts is causing the Bolsheviki mud anxiety. Te
peasantry has been in continual rebellion against the Soviet régime, and the arbitrary meth-
ods of labor mobilization have alienated the workers. Te documents l have examined at the
unions and the statistics concerning the distribution of labor power (rabsil) and desertion,
show that almost every village in the provinces of Kherson and Nikolayev has offered armed
resistance. Yet the peasants have no sympathy with the monardism of Wrangel: his victory
may deprive them of the land they have taken from the large estates. Several provincial So-
viets have sent delegates to Nikolayev to assure the authorities of their determination to fight
'General Slastdev-Krinski was later received with special honors into the Red Army and sent by Trotsky to
subdue the Karelian peasants (1)zz).
the Whites. lncouraged, the Communists are conducting an intensive agitation among the
peasantry along the route of Wrangel.
lear of the Whites has revived stories of their atrocities. Te Jewish population lives
in mortal dread, previous occupations having been accompanied by fearful pogroms. At
the “underground” restaurant near the Soviet House the guests relate incidents of almost
incredible barbarities. Tey speak indiscriminately of Whites, Greens, Mariusa, Makhno, and
others who have at various times invested the city. lt is asserted that Mariusa, an amazon
of mysterious identity, refrains from pillage· she “kills only Communists and Commissars.”
Some insist that she is a sister of Makhno (though the lauer has none), while others say she is
a peasant girl who had sworn vengeance against the Bolsheviki because her lover was killed
by a punitive expedition.
“Te blac years may know who they all be,” the hostess comments. “When Makhno was
here last time people said they saw Mariusa with him. Tey beat and robbed Jews at the
“You are wrong,” the young Soviet employee who has been assigned to aid my work
protests. “l helped to examine the men caught at that time. Tey were Greens and Grigoriev
bandits. Mariusa wasn’t then in the city at all.”
“l heard Makhno himself speak,” remarked Vera, the daughter of the hostess, a young
college girl. “lt was on the square, and some one held a big blac flag near him. He told
the people they had nothing to fear, and that he would not permit any excesses. He said he
would mercilessly punish anyone auempting a pogrom. l got a very favorable impression of
“Whoever it is that makes pogroms,” her mother retorted, “we Jews are always the first
“Jews and Commissars,” the youth corrects.
“You are both — you’d beuer look out,” a guest teased him.
“Beuer take off that kurtka (leather jacet),” another warns.
Chapter 34
A Bolshevik Trial
Having learned that old police records are in possession of the lxtraordinary Commission, l
visited Burov, the predsedatel of the Tdeka. Very tall and broad, of coarse features and curt
demeanor, he gave me the impression of a gendarme of the Romanov régime. He spoke in an
abrupt, commanding tone, avoided my look, and seemed more interested in the large Siberian
dog at his side than in my mission. He declined to permit me to examine the ardives of the
Tird Department, but promised to select some material the Museum might be interested in,
and asked me to call the next day.
His manner was not convincing, and l felt liule faith in his assurances to aid my efforts.
Te following morning his secretary informed me that Burov had been too busy to auend to
my request, but he could be seen at the Revolutionary Tribunal, where a trial was in progress.
On the dais of the Tribunal three men sat at a desk covered with a red cloth, the wall
bac of them decorated with lithographs of lenin and Trotsky. At a small table below the
dais was the defendant, a slender young man with a diminutive mustade, and near him an
older man, his auorney. Burov, with the huge dog at his feet, was acting as the government
prosecutor. Te bendes were occupied by witnesses, and soldiers were stationed in the aisles
to preserve order.
Te prisoner was darged with “counter-revolutionary activities,” the accusation brought
by a young woman on the ground that he had “denounced her as a Communist to the Whites.”
Te witnesses were questioned first by the defense, then by the prosecutor and the judges.
lt appeared from their testimony that the prisoner and his accuser had for years lived in the
same house and were known to be intimate. Te proceedings dragged in a sleepy, uninter-
esting way until the auorney for the defense auempted to establish the fact that the woman,
now a member of the Tdeka, had formerly led a disreputable life. Burov slowly rose in his
seat and pointing his finger at the lawyer, demanded· “Do you dare to auac the reputation
of the lxtraordinary Commission`” Te auorney timidly appealed to the court for protec-
tion. Te presiding judge, in high boots and corduroy jacet, looking very tired and sipping
cold coffee, expressed his revolutionary sympathy with the social victims of the abolished
capitalist order and berated the auorney for persisting in bourgeois prejudices.
Burov examined the defense witnesses regarding their past mode of life and present po-
litical adherence. He referred to the prisoner as “that scoundrelly counter-revolutionist” and
succeeded in eliciting affirmative replies to questions previously negated by the same wit-
nesses. One of the lauer, a young woman, testified to the good reputation of the defendant
and his political non-partisanship. She looked frightened as Burov towered above her. He
plied her with questions, and she became confused. Under the spell of the Tdekist’s com-
manding voice she finally admiued that the accused was her brother.
A burst of indignation broke from the audience. On the bend in front of me an old man
excitedly shouted· “You’ve terrorized her! She is no kin of his — she’s my daughter!” Te
presiding judge shouted, “Silence!” and ordered the arrest of the interrupter for “behavior
insulting to the high tribunal.”
During the noon recess l found an opportunity to speak to Burov. l called his auention to
the daracter of the testimony. lt was valueless, l pointed out: the witnesses were intimidated.
Burov was mud pleased. “Tere is no fooling with us, and they know it,” he said, indicating
that all non-Communists are to be regarded as the natural enemies of the Bolshevik régime.
“Te evidence is questionable,” l pursued: “will the prisoner be convicted`”
“l’ll demand the ‘highest measure of punishment,’ ” he replied, employing the official
term for the death sentence.
“But the man may be innocent,” l protested.
“How can you speak so, tovarisht?” he upbraided me. “You talk of evidence! Why,
the uncle of this fellow was a rank bourzhooi, a big banker. He escaped with the Whites,
and his whole family are counterrevolutionists. Te best thing to do with sud fellows is to
razmenyat them” (to “dange” — the expression used in the South for summary execution).
leaving the courtroom, l inadvertently stepped into a small damber where two women
sat on a bend. “Tovarisht from the center,” one of them greeted me: “l saw you at Burov’s
She evidently took me for an official of the Moscow Tdeka, and she at once became
confidential. lt was she who brought the darge against the prisoner, she said. Tey had
been arrested together by the Whites, and when they were brought to the police station the
defendant whispered something to the officer. She could not hear what he said, but she was
sure that he had nodded in her direction. Both were loced up, but aner a while the man was
released while she was to be shot. She was positive the man had denounced her as a Bolshevik
— though she was not one at the time. She has become a Communist since, and now she is
helping to fight counter-revolutionists, “same as you, tovarisht,” she added significantly.
Her face, offensively painted even to her lips, was coarse and sensuous. Her eyes glowed
with a vengeful light and the consciousness of power. Her companion, younger and more
comely, resembled her in a marked degree.
“Are you sisters`” l asked.
“Cousins,” the younger one replied. “Katya is lying,” she broke out vehemently, “she’s
jealous — the man len her — he didn’t care for her — she wants revenge.”
“A lot he cares for you!” the other moced. “You are younger — that’s all. And he’s a
dirty counter-revolutionist.”
Te door opened and a woman entered. She looked very old, but her carriage was stately
and her sad face beautiful in its frame of snowy white. “Are you a witness`” the Tdekist
girl demanded. “Have you been called`”
“No, my dear,” the old lady replied quietly: “l came of my own accord.” She smiled
benignantly and continued in a son, melodious voice· “listen, dear, l am an old woman and
l will soon be dying. l came to tell the truth. Why should you cause the death of that boy`”
She looked kindly at the Tdekist. “Bethink yourself, dear one. He has done you no harm.”
“Hasn’t he, though!” the other retorted angrily.
My dear one,” the old lady pleaded, puuing her hand affectionately on the girl’s arm,
“let by-gones be by-gones. He cared for you and he ceased to care — does he deserve death,
dearest` Ah, l am old and l have seen mud evil in my lifetime. Must we always go on hating
and killing — ”
“To court!” a soldier shouted into the room. Both girls hurriedly rose, smoothed their
hair, and walked out.
“Must we always be hating and killing`” the old woman repeated as she slowly followed
Chapter 35
Returning to Petrograd
Aner a stay of several days we len Nikolayev, returning to Odessa by the same maritime auto
truc. We followed the former route and witnessed the previous scenes again. Our reception
was even more unfriendly than before.
Occasionally some good-natured soldier offered to pay with Sovietsky money, but the
villagers pleaded that they could do nothing with the “colored papers,” and begged for articles
of “manufacture.” Te dauffeur produced a can of watered gasoline, whid he had persuaded
an old peasant to exdange for a smoked ham by assuring him that it was the “best kerosene
in Russia.” Te neighbors protested, but the old man, too frightened to refuse, gave up the
treasured meat, muuering· “May the lord have mercy on us and see you depart soon.”
ln Odessa we learn that the Red Army is in full retreat fromWarsaw, and Wrangel steadily
advancing from the southeast. Te alarming situation makes the further progress of the
lxpedition impossible. Our anxiety is increased by the circumstance that the mandate for
the use of our car expires on October !1, aner whid date the Railroad Commission has the
right of immediate confiscation, involving the probable loss of our material. Our repeated
leuers and wires have remained without reply by the Narkomput (People’s Commissariat of
Ways and Communication) in Moscow. No doice is len us but to hasten bac to Petrograd to
deliver to the Museum our collection whid has grown so large it requires an entire tepulshka
(freight car).
September 20–30. — At last we have len Odessa and are now journeying by slow stages
northward. Te lines are clogged with military trains, “dead” engines, and wreced cars. At
Znamenka we come upon the rear of the Twelnh Army retreating in disorder. Te Bolsheviki
are evacuating points along the route of the expected Polish advance. large areas have been
len without any government at all, the Communists having departed, the Poles not pursuing.
Te Red Army is rolling bac toward Kiev and Kharkov. Our train is constantly delayed or
switded to a side trac, to clear the way for the military. Should the enemy advance, our
lxpedition may be entirely cut off from the north, finding itself between Wrangel’s forces in
the south and southeast, and the Poles in the north and northwest.
Progressing only a few miles a day, we pass Birsula, Vanyarki, Zhmerinka, and Kasatin.
Te Communists no longer deny the great disaster. Te Polish campaign has ended in a
complete rout, and Wrangel is driving the Red Army before him. lt is claimed that Makhno
has joined forces with the counter-revolutionary general. Te Soviet papers we occasionally
find in the “educational bureau” at the stations brand the povstantsi leader as Wrangel’s aid.
lamiliar with the methods of the Communist press, we do not give credence to the “news,”
but our anxiety to learn the facts of the situation is increased by the persistent report that
lngland demands the entire withdrawal of the Bolsheviki from the Ukraina.
Te approades to Kiev are bloced, and we are detained twelve versts from the city.
Two days of maneuvering bring us at last in visible distance of the passenger station, where
we remain for the night. Kiev is being evacuated. A visit to the union headquarters fails to
discover any prominent officials· they are preparing to leave in case of “revolutionary neces-
sity.” Tere is mud speculation whether the Bolsheviki will release the political prisoners
before surrendering the town, as the enemy will undoubtedly execute all revolutionists who
fall into its hands. On the streets joy at the departure of the Communists struggles with dread
of the hated Poles.
Rising next morning at nine (by the new time: seven by the sun) l am surprised not to
find my clothes in their accustomed place. Believing my friends to have played a hoax, l
proceed to wake them. All my apparel and personal effects are gone· we have been robbed!
Te thief evidently entered through the open corridor window: the imprint of his bare feet is
still on the rain-sonened ground. We are certain the then was commiued by the militsioneri
guarding the wood-pile about thirty feet from our car. lt was a moonlit night. No one could
have climbed through the window without being seen by the sentry. ln any case, a desperate
undertaking, for sud acts are now punishable with death. Our interviews with the soldiers,
inquiry and investigation fail to throw light on the robbery, and at heart we are glad. Te
loss, however great, is not worth a human life.
October 2. — Journeying toward Kursk. We still hope to be able to return south by way
of Yekaterinoslav, but rumors are persistent of the taking of that city by Wrangel.
Splendid autumn day, clear and sunny. Te country is luscious — fields of blac soil,
primitive forests of oak and fir. But the weather is growing cold, and our car is unheated for
lac of dry wood. Our supplies are almost exhausted: even the resourceful culinary art of
lmma Goldman is unable to produce meals from an empty larder.
ln the evening a rare sunset over the Western slope, the horizon aglowwith luminous red.
Broad lines of purple afloat on an azure bacground, its base a light yellow of frayed edges.
Nowthe dense woods hide the sky. l catdglimpses of the paling fire shimmering through the
trees. Windmills of ancient Russian type and peasant khati, their roofs straw-covered, sides
white-washed, slowly pass by, looking melandoly. Women at work in the fields: dildren
driving a floc of blac sheep. A solitary peasant trudges behind a pair of oxen hitded to
a plow of primitive design. Te country is even, flat, monotonous. lt is growing dusk: our
candles are exhausted.
ln the gathering darkness, our liule commune around the table, we exdange reminis-
cences. Today is the first anniversary of my release from the lederal prison.' A year rid
with experience· intense days of anti-conscription agitation and opposition to world slaugh-
ter, arrest and detention at lllis lsland, stealthy deportation, and then — Russia and the life
of the revolutionary period.
With the touding curiosity of the Russian in all things American our colleagues are ab-
sorbed in the story. Te skyscraper, that bold striving toward the heights, is the symbol of
the far-off world to them. Tough theoretically familiar with American industrialism, their
faith in that country as “free” is traditional, persistent, and they experience a rude awakening
at the recital of the actual facts of our economic and political life. Habituated to thinking the
“American” a gentleman of large and noble nature, with a toud of manly irresponsibility
almost akin to “interesting madness,” they are deeply shoced by the picture of prison ex-
istence with its tortures of solitary, underground dungeon, and “bull ring.” Under the most
cruel Tsarist régime, they assure me, the politicals were accordedbeuer treatment even in the
worst casemates of Petropavlovsk and Sdlüsselburg.
“ls it possible,” our Secretary asks for the third time, “that in free, cultured America a
prisoner may for years be kept in solitary, deprived of exercise and visitors`”´
Only one year ago, yet how far it all seems, how removed from the present! long trains
of artillery rush through the darkness· the revolutionary army is routed on all fronts. Te
soldiers’ plaintive song, now Russian, now Ukrainian, grips the heart with heavy sadness, as
our train slowly creeps along the flatlands of Northern Ukraina.
October 21. A clear, cold day. Te first snow of the season on the ground, Moscow
presents a familiar sight, and l feel at home aner our long absence.
lagerly l absorb the news at the Commissariat of loreign Affairs. Te Twelnh Army has
precipitately retreated from Warsaw, but the Poles are not pursuing. lt is officially realized
now what a serious and costly mistake the campaign was, and how baseless the expectations
of a revolution in Poland. lt is hoped that a quic peace may be patded up without too great
sacrifices on the part of Russia.
Happier is the news from other fronts. lastern Siberia has been cleared of the last rem-
nants of Koldak’s army under Ataman Semyonov. ln the Crimea Wrangel is almost entirely
crushed, not the least share of credit admiuedly belonging to Makhno. lar from aiding the
counter-revolutionary forces, as had been reported, the povstantsi joined the fight against the
White general. Tis development was the result of a politico-military agreement between the
Bolsheviki and Makhno, the main condition of the lauer being the immediate liberation of
the imprisoned Anardists and Makhnovtsi, and a guarantee of free speedand press for them
in the Ukraina. Te telegram sent at the time by Makhno requesting the presence of lmma
Goldman and myself at the conferences did not read us. lt was not forwarded by the loreign
'ln Atlanta, Georgia, where the author served two years for anti-militarist propaganda.
´See “Prison Memoirs of an Anardist,” by Alexander Berkman, Mother larth Publishing Association, New
York, 1)1z.
Our anxiety about Henry Alsberg is, relieved· he is now safely in Riga, having been per-
miued to leave Russia aner his forced return from the south. Albert Boni and Pat Qinlan are
in the Tdeka, no definite reason for their detention being assigned. Mrs. Harrison, my erst-
while neighbor in the Kharitonensky, is held as a British spy. Nuorteva, Soviet representative
in New York, was deported from the States and is now at the head of the British-American
bureau in the loreign Office. Rosenberg, the bad-tempered and ill-mannered confidential
secretary of Tdiderin, all-powerful and cordially disliked, is about to leave for the lar last,
“on an important mission,” as he informs me. lncidentally, as if by anerthought, he refers to
the “funeral tomorrow,” and with a shoc l learn of the death of John Reed. Te lxpedition
is to leave this evening for Petrograd, but we decide to postpone our departure in order to
pay the last tribute to our dead friend.
A fresh grave along the Kremlin wall, opposite the Red Square, the honored resting place
of the revolutionary martyrs. l stand at the brink, supporting louise Bryant who has entirely
abandoned herself to her grief. She had hastened from America to meet Jac aner a long
separation. Missing him in Petrograd, she proceeded to Moscow only to learn that Reed had
been ordered to Baku to the Congress of lastern Peoples. He had not quite recovered from
the effects of his imprisonment in linland and he was unwilling to undertake the arduous
journey. But Zinoviev insisted: it was imperative, he said, to have America represented, and
like a good Party soldier Jac obeyed. But his weakened constitution could not withstand
the hardships of Russian travel and its fatal infections. Reed was brought bac to Moscow
critically ill. ln spite of the efforts of the best physicians he died on October 1e.
Te sky is wrapped in gray. Rain and sleet are in the air. Between the speakers’ words
the rain strikes Jac’s coffin, punctuating the sentences as if driving nails into the casket.
Clear and rounded like the water drops are the official eulogies falling upon the hearing with
dull meaninglessness. louise cowers on the wet ground. With difficulty l persuade her to
rise, almost forcing her to her feet. She seems in a daze, oblivious to the tribute of the Party
mourners. Bukharin, Reinstein, and representatives of Communist sections of lurope and
America praise the advance guard of world revolution, while louise is desperately clutding
at the wooden coffin. Only young leodosov, who had known and loved Jac and shared
quarters with him, sheds a ray of warmth through the icy sleet. Kollontay speaks of the fine
manhood and generous soul that was Jac. With painful sincerity she questions herself —
did not John Reed succumb to the neglect of true comradeship…
* * *
Te Museum is highly pleased with the success of our lxpedition. ln token of appreciation
the Board of Directors requested us, to continue our work in the Crimea, now entirely freed
from White forces. Te mandate for the car has been prolonged till the close of the year.
But the independent, non-partisan daracter of the Museum activities is apparently dis-
pleasing to Communist circles in Moscow. Tey contend that the capital, rather than Petro-
grad, should be the home of sud an institution. Te idea is sponsored, it is said, in opposition
to the growing power of Zinoviev. Certain influences are at work to curtail the Museum’s
sphere of action. With surprise we learn that a special body has been created in the center
with exclusive authority to collect material concerning the history of the Russian Commu-
nist Party. Te new organization, known as the Ispart, by virtue or its Communist daracter,
claims control over the Museum and has announced its intention of directing future expedi-
Te situation threatens the efficiency of our work. By request of the Museum, l have re-
peatedly visited Moscow in an endeavor to read an amicable understanding. lunatdarsky,
with whom l have discussed the mauer, admits the justice of our position. But the Ispart
continues to assert its supremacy, claims the right to our car, and insists on controlling the
expeditions by placing a political commissar in darge.
Te auitude of the Ispart is inimical to free initiative and best effort. lt is also indicative
of a lac of confidence. lf persisted in, it would exclude my further coöperation. Under
no conditions could l consent to the supervision of a commissar, whose duties are virtually
identical with spying and denunciation. Several of my colleagues in the lxpedition, including
lmma Goldman, share this viewpoint.
During the negotiations it has been suggested that we visit the lar North to gather the his-
toric data of the period of Allied occupation and the Provisional Government of Tdaikovsky.
Te Ispart professes no interest in the undertaking and foregoes control over it. We welcome
the opportunity and decide to make a short journey to Ardangel via Moscow, where for-
malities are to be completed.
ln the capital we find our friends in great consternation. Te Bolsheviki, it is darged,
have treaderously broken their agreement with Makhno. No sooner had the povstantsi
helped to defeat Wrangel than Trotsky ordered their disarmament. Tey were surrounded
and auaced by Red forces, but succeeded in extricating themselves, and now open war-
fare has again been declared. Meanwhile the Anardists, unaware of these developments,
had gathered from all parts of the country in Kharkov, where a conference was to be held
December lst, in accordance with Makhno’s agreement with the Bolsheviki. All of them, to-
gether with many local Anardists, were arrested, among them my friends Volin and Baron,
widely known as men of high idealism and revolutionary devotion. Te greatest fear is felt
for their safety.
Chapter 36
In the Far North
December, 1920. — Yaroslavl, an ancient city, is picturesque on the banks of the Volga. Very
impressive are its cathedrals and monasteries, fine specimens of the arditectural art of north-
eastern Russia of feudal times. But desolate is the sight of the many demolished buildings
and durdes. On the opposite side of the river the whole district is wreced by artillery and
fire. Dismal reminders of the harrowing days of June, 1)1s, when the counter-revolutionary
insurrection led by Savinkov, once famous terrorist, was crushed. More than a third of the
city was destroyed, its population reduced by half.
Te shadow of that tragedy broods darkly over Yaroslavl. Te hand laid upon the rebels
was so heavy, its imprint is still felt. Te people are cowed, terrified at the very mention of
the ghastly days of June.
Trough Vologda we readArdangel, at the mouth of the Northern Dvina, almost within
the Arctic Circle. Te city is situated on the right bank, separated from the railroad station
by the river whid we cross on foot. Te ice is doued with peasant sleighs, some drawn
by reindeer with huge, crooked antlers. Te drivers are entirely wrapped in furs, only their
narrow dark eyes and flat lapland noses visible.
Te streets are clean, the small frame houses well kept. “We have learned from the Oc-
cupation,” Kulakov, Chairman of the Ispelkom, comments. He is a young man, tall, clean
featured, and of quic intelligence. Te Whites killed his entire family, including his young
sister, but Kulakov has preserved his mental balance and humanity.
Comparative order prevails in the Soviet institutions. Te long queues so daracteristic
of Bolshevik managements are almost entirely absent. Te natives have acquired method
and efficiency: “from the example of the Americans,” they frankly admit. Tere is scarcity
of provisions, but the pyo is more equitable, distribution more systematic than elsewhere.
Te Communists are the dominant factor, but they are encouraging the coöperation of the
other elements of the population. lxperience has taught them to economize human life.
Many former White officers are employed, even in responsible positions. Teir services are
very satisfactory, l am told: particularly in the sdools they are of help. lven monks and
nuns have been given opportunity to serve the people. Some art workshops are managed by
former inmates of monasteries, still in their religious garb, sewing and embroidering for the
dildren and instructing them in the art.
Te orphan homes and asylums we have visited, unannounced, are clean and tidy, the
inmates warmly dressed and of healthy appearance, their relations with the teaders very
harmonious, even affectionate.
Speculation in food has entirely ceased. Te old market place is almost deserted: only
small articles of apparel are offered for sale. Te distributing Soviet centers still have some
of the provisions, mostly canned goods, len by the American Mission, whid is remembered
with respect, almost with regret. But considerable sentiment is felt against the lnglish, who
are darged with political partisanship in the civil struggle of the North. Te story is told of
the destruction of huge supplies, sunk in the Dvina in the very sight of the starved population,
by order ofGeneral Rollins, who was in darge of the British evacuation.
Te cordial coöperation of Kulakov and other Communist officials has enabled us to col-
lect valuable material on the history of the Provisional Government of the Northern District.
A pitiful picture it presents of Tdaikovsky, once the “grandfather of the Russian Revolu-
tion.” loreswearing his glorious past, he served as the vassal of Koldak, whom he servilely
acnowledged as the “Supreme Ruler of Russia.” So impotent, however, was the role of
Tdaikovsky that his régime is contemptuously referred to as the “Government of Miller,”
the commander-in-dief of the counter-revolutionary forces whid escaped to Norway soon
aner the British evacuation.
Tough comprising but a small part of the population, the workers of Ardangel (about
!,ccc out of a total of ¯c,ccc) have played a decisive part in the history of the city and district.
ln the union gatherings l have come in toud with intelligent proletarian groups whose inde-
pendence and self-reliance is the key to the local situation. lar from “the center” and small
in number, the Bolsheviki are vitally dependent on the labor element in the management of
affairs. Party dictatorship has been mitigated by the actual participation of the toilers. Teir
influence is restraining and salutary.
Betdin, the Chairman of the Union Soviet, personifies the history and spirit of the whole
revolutionary epod. Tall and stocily built, of plain speed and convincing honesty, he is
typical of the Northern worker. ln his person the Provisional Government had sought to
suppress the rebellious element of the Ardangel proletariat. Popular labor man and member
of the local Duma, Betdin was indicted for treason. Te central figure of the celebrated trial
known by his name, he was condemned to a living death in the terrible prison at lokange in
the frozen North. But his conviction served to consolidate the wavering ranks against the
Provisional Government: his name became the slogan of the united opposition. lts rising
waves drove the Allies from Ardangel and Murmansk, and abolished Tdaikovsky’s régime.
With mud difficulty l persuaded the modest Betdin to donate his picture and autobio-
graphic sketd to the “revolutionary gallery” of the Museum. His friends informed me that
upon his return to prison he insisted that his portraits be removed from the union headquar-
ters. ln appreciation of our mission he presented us with the old crimson banner of the Soviet,
baule-scarred in numerous campaigns.
“We are working in harmony with the several factions in the unions,” Betdin said. “Te
welfare of the people is our sole aim, and on that platform we can all agree, whatever our
political predilections.”
With a smile of indulgent reminiscence he admiued his former adherence to the Social-
Democrats. “But we have no more Mensheviki here,” he hastened to add: “we all joined the
Bolsheviki long ago.”
“Te comrade from the center probably doesn’t know how it happened,” his assistant
remarked. “Revolutionary life sometimes plays curious pranks. You see,” he continued, “word
had readed us that the Mensheviki and S. R.’s in Moscow had gone over to the Bolsheviki.
We decided to do the same. Tat’s how we happen to be Communists now. But the report
later proved false,” he concluded with a toud of disappointment.
“We have never regreued it,” Betdin said soberly.
Tere is no direct railroad line between Ardangel and Murmansk, and we are compelled
to make the long journey bac to Vologda in order to read the Coast. ln Petrosavodsk we
learn that owing to the unusually severe snowstorms the trip cannot be undertaken at present.
lt is Christmas lve: before the end of the year we are pledged to return to Petrograd. To our
great regret the journey further north must be abandoned.
Chapter 37
Early Days of 1921
Te military fronts have been liquidated: civil war is at an end. Te country breathes a sigh of
relief. Te lntente has ceased to finance counter-revolution, but the blocade still continues.
lt is, now generally realized that the hope of near revolution in lurope is visionary. Te
proletariat of the West, involved in a severe struggle with growing reaction at home, can
give no aid to Russia. Te Soviet Republic is thrown upon its own resources.
All thoughts are turned to economic reconstruction. Communist circles and the official
press are agitated by the discussion of the role of the workers in the present situation. lt is
admiued that militarization of labor has failed. lar from proving productive, as had been
claimed, its effects have been disorganizing and demoralizing. Te new part to be assigned
to the proletariat is the burning problem, but there is no unity of opinion among the leading
Bolsheviki. lenin contends that the unions are not prepared to manage the industries· their
main mission is to serve as “sdools of Communism,” with gradually increasing participation
in the economic field. Zinoviev and his following side with lenin and elaborate his views. But
Trotsky dissents, insisting that the workers will for a long time to come be unfit to manage the
industries. He demands a “labor front,” subject to the iron discipline of a military campaign.
ln opposition to this conception, the labor elements advocate the immediate democratization
of industrial government. Te exclusion of the unions from a decisive role in the economic
life, they maintain, is the true cause of the deplorable situation. Tey are confident that
the revolutionary proletariat, who has defeated all armed opposition, will also conquer the
enemy on the economic field. But the workers must be given the opportunity· they will learn
by doing.
Troughout the country rages the discussion, on the solution of whid depends the eco-
nomic future of the people.
* * *
Many of the Anardists arrested in Kharkov on the eve of the suppressed Conference have
been brought to Moscow. Some of them are in the Butirki: others are held incommunicado
in the “inner jail” of the Tdeka. Volin, A. Baron, and lea, the wife of my friend Yossif
the lmigrant, are among them. Yossif is reported dead. With the consent of the Kharkov
authorities, accompanied by two friends, he had gone to the Makhno camp to aid in arranging
the conditions of agreement. On the way all three disappeared — killed, it is assumed, just as
they entered a village that was being pogromed. Tere are rumors of Bolshevik responsibility
for the tragedy, but l cannot believe them guilty of sud treadery.
By the aid of Angelica Balabanova we intercede in behalf of the victims of the broken
truce between the Soviet Government and Makhno. Almost all of them come within the
Communist definition of ideini Anardists (of ideas): and lenin had assured me that the
Party is cordially disposed toward them. Te efforts of Angelica have secured for me an
appointment with latsis, head of the “Department of Secret Operations” of the Veh-Tdeka,
in darge of the cases. But calling at the agreed hour, l am informed that latsis, aware of the
purpose of my visit, had len orders not to admit me.
Still believing in the possibility of establishing more amicable relations between the So-
viet Government and the Anardists, l appealed to influential Communists. Te great task
of rebuilding the country, l urge, necessitates mutual understanding and coöperation. But
my Bolshevik friends scorn the suggestion as Utopian, though some of them are willing to
aid in the liberation of certain individuals by serving as their “guarantee.” At last l decide to
address myself to lenin. ln a wriuen communication l present to him the situation and set
forth the reasons — revolutionary, ethical, and utilitarian — for the release of the politicals
in the interests of the common cause.
ln vain l await a reply. Te prison doors remain closed. More arrests take place in various
parts of the country.
February 13 — Peter Kropotkin died on the sth instant. Tough not entirely unexpected,
the news came to me as a great shoc. l hastened from Petrograd to Dmitrov, where a num-
ber of personal friends of the dead man were already gathered. Almost the entire village
accompanied the remains to the train bound for Moscow. liule dildren strewed the way
with pine brandes, and touding tribute was paid by the simple country folk to the man
beloved in their midst.
Te Soviet Government offered to take darge of the funeral, but the family of Kropotkin
and his comrades have declined. Tey feel that Peter, who throughout his life denied the
State, should not in death be insulted by its auentions. Te luneral Commission formed by
the Moscow Anardist organizations requested lenin to permit the imprisoned comrades of
the dead to auend the funeral of their friend and teader. lenin consented, and the Central
Commiuee of the Party recommended to the Tdeka the temporary release of the Anardists.
Delegated by the Commission to arrange the mauer, l was given opportunity to visit the
prisoners in the Butirki. Over a score of them gathered about me, pale, martyred faces, with
eager eyes and palpitating interest in the life they are deprived of.
ln the “inner jail” of the Tdeka l was permiued to see A. Baron, the spokesman of the
Anardists imprisoned there. Accompanying me was Yartduk, himself but recently released.
“You’ll probably be with us again soon,” the magistrate remarked to him with a sardonic
Owing to the nationalization of all conveyances, printing facilities, and materials, the
Commission has been compelled to apply to the Moscow Soviet to enable it to carry out the
funeral program. Aner considerable delay, permission has been secured to issue a one-day,
four-page in memoriampaper, but the authorities insist that the manuscripts —though exclu-
sively devoted to appreciations of Kropotkin as sdolar, man, and Anardist — be submiued
to censorship.
Te Tdeka refused to release the Anardist prisoners without a guarantee of the luneral
Commission for their return. Tat guarantee secured, the lxtraordinary Commission in-
formed me that “upon examination it was found that there are no Anardists that could be
freed.” Tere followed an intensive exdange of “opinions” between the Moscow Soviet, in
the person of Kamenev, its president, and the Tdeka, whid has finally resulted in the solemn
promise to permit all the imprisoned Moscow Anardists to auend the funeral.
ln the Hall of Columns in the Union House the remains of Peter Kropotkin lie in state. A
continuous procession of workers, students, and peasants passes before the bier to pay the last
tribute to the dead. Outside a vast mass is waiting to accompany the remains to their resting
place. All is in readiness: the requiem has been sung, the time set for starting has already
passed. But the Anardist prisoners have not come. Urgent inquiries at the Tdeka elicit
contradictory information· the collective guarantee of the Commission is not satisfactory,
we are told — the men refuse to auend the funeral — they have already been released.
lt is past noon. Te funeral is delayed. lt is apparent that the Tdeka is sabotaging our
agreement. We decide to protest by demonstratively removing the Government and Com-
munist wreaths from the Hall. Te threat of a public scandal quicly brings the authorities
to terms, and within a quarter of an hour the seven prisoners of the “inner jail” arrive. We
are assured that the Butirki Anardists have been freed and will presently join us.'
Te long procession slowly winds its way to the cemetery. Te students, arms linked,
form a living dain on both sides of the great multitude. Te sun is bright upon the hard,
glistening snow. Blac Anardist banners, interspersed with flashes of scarlet, fluuer above
like mournful arms of love.
A Kropotkin Museum is to be founded in memory of the great Anardist scientist and
teader. Te commiuee of Anardist organizations in darge of the undertaking has requested
lmma Goldman and myself to aid in its organization. Our further coöperation with the
Museum of the Revolution has become impossible owing to the arbitrary auitude of the
Ispart. Moreover, the Kropotkin work is of greater immediate importance and of stronger
appeal to my sympathies. l have severed my connection with the Museum to accept the
secretaryship of the Kropotkin Memorial Commission.
'At the last moment the Tdeka refused to release them.
Chapter 38
Petrograd, February, 1921.' — Te cold is extreme and there is intense suffering in the city.
Snowstorms have isolated us from the provinces: the supply of provisions has almost ceased.
Only half a pound of bread is being issued now. Most of the houses are unheated. At dusk
old women prowl about the big woodpile near the Hotel Astoria, but the sentry is vigilant.
Several factories have been closed for lac of fuel, and the employees put on half rations.
Tey called a meeting to consult about the situation, but the authorities did not permit it to
take place.
Te Trubotdny millworkers have gone on strike. ln the distribution of winter cloth-
ing, they complain, the Communists received undue advantage over the non-partisans. Te
Government refuses to consider the grievances till the men return to work.
Crowds of strikers gathered in the street near the mills, and soldiers were sent to dis-
perse them. Tey were kursanti, Communist youths of the military academy. Tere was no
Now the strikers have been joined by the men from the Admiralty shops and Galernaya
docs. Tere is mud resentment against the arrogant auitude of the Government. A street
demonstration was auempted, but mounted troops suppressed it.
February 27. — Nervous feeling in the city. Te strike situation is growing more seri-
ous. Te Patronny mills, the Baltiysky and laferm factories have suspended operations. Te
authorities have ordered the strikers to resume work. Martial law in the city. Te special
Commiuee of Defense (Komitet Oboroni) is vested with exceptional powers, Zinoviev at its
At the Soviet session last evening a military member of the Defense Commiuee de-
nounced the strikers as traitors to the Revolution. lt was lashevitd. He looked fat, greasy,
and offensively sensuous. He called the dissatisfied workers “leedes auempting extortion”
(shkurniki), and demanded drastic measures against them. Te Soviet passed a resolution
'An exhaustive study of the Kronstadt tragedy, with the documents pertaining to it, will be found in the
author’s brodure, “Te Kronstadt Rebellion,” published by Der Syndicalist, Berlin, 1)zz.
locing out the men of the Trubotdny mill. lt means deprivation of rations — actual starva-
February 28. —Strikers’ proclamations have appeared on the streets today. Tey cite cases
of workers found frozen to death in their homes. Te main demand is for winter clothing and
more regular issue of rations. Some of the circulars protest against the suppression of factory
meetings. “Te people want to take counsel together to find means of relief,” they state.
Zinoviev asserts the whole trouble is due to Menshevik and Social Revolutionist plouing.
lor the first time a political turn is being given to the strikes. late in the anernoon
a proclamation was posted containing larger demands. “A complete dange is necessary
in the policies of the Government,” it reads. “lirst of all, the workers and peasants need
freedom. Tey don’t want to live by the decrees of the Bolsheviki: they want to control
their own destinies. We demand the liberation of all arrested Socialists and non-partisan
workingmen: abolition of martial law: freedom of speed, press, and assembly for all who
labor: free election of shop and factory commiuees, of labor union and Soviet representatives.”
Mar I. — Many arrests are taking place. Groups of strikers surrounded by Tdekists,
on their way to prison, are a common sight. Mud indignation in the city. l hear that sev-
eral unions have been liquidated and their active members turned over to the Tdeka. But
proclamations continue to appear. Te arbitrary stand of the authorities is having the effect
of rousing reactionary tendencies. Te situation is growing tense. Calls for the Utredilka
(Constituent Assembly) are being heard. A manifesto is circulating, signed by the “Socialist
Workers of the Nevsky District,” openly auacing the Communist régime. “We know who is
afraid of the Constituent Assembly,” it declares. “lt is they who will no longer be able to rob
us. lnstead they will have to answer before the representatives of the people for their deceit,
their thens, and all their crimes.”
Zinoviev is alarmed: he has wired to Moscowfor troops. Te local garrison is said to be in
sympathy with the strikers. Military from the provinces has been ordered to the city· special
Communist regiments have already arrived. lxtraordinary martial law has been declared
Mar 2. — Most disquieting reports. large strikes have broken out in Moscow. ln the
Astoria l heard today that armed conflicts have taken place near the Kremlin and blood has
been shed. Te Bolsheviki claim the coincidence of events in the two capitals as proof of a
counter-revolutionary conspiracy.
lt is said that Kronstadt sailors have come to the city to look into the cause of trouble.
lmpossible to tell fact from fiction. Te absence of a public press encourages the wildest
rumors. Te official papers are discredited.
Mar 3. — Kronstadt is disturbed. lt disapproves of the Government’s drastic meth-
ods against the dissatisfied workers. Te men of the warship Petropavlovsk have passed a
resolution of sympathy with the strikers.
lt has become known today that on lebruary zs a commiuee of sailors was sent to this
city to investigate the strike situation. lts report was unfavorable to the authorities. On Mard
1 the crews of the lirst and Second Squadrons of the Baltic lleet called a public meeting at
Yakorny Square. Te gathering was auended by 1e,ccc sailors, Red Army men, and workers.
Te Chairman of the lxecutive Commiuee of the Kronstadt Soviet, the Communist Vassiliev,
presided. Te audience was addressed by Kalinin, President of the Republic, and by Kuzmin,
Commissar of the Baltic lleet. Te auitude of the sailors was entirely friendly to the Soviet
Government, and Kalinin was met on his arrival in Kronstadt with military honors, music,
and banners.
At the meeting the Petrograd situation and the report of the sailors’ investigating commit-
tee were discussed. Te audience was outspoken in its indignation at the means employed by
Zinoviev against the workers. President Kalinin and Commissar Kusmin berated the strikers
and denounced the Petropavlovsk Resolution as counter-revolutionary. Te sailors empha-
sized their loyalty to the Soviet system, but condemned the Bolshevik bureaucracy. Te
resolution was passed.
Mar 4. — Great nervous tension in the city. Te strikes continue: labor disorders
have again taken place in Moscow. A wave of discontent is sweeping the country. Peasant
uprisings are reported from Tambov, Siberia, the Ukraina, and Caucasus. Te country is
on the verge of desperation. lt was confidently hoped that with the end of civil war the
Communists would mitigate the severe military régime. Te Government had announced its
intention of economic reconstruction, and the people were eager to coöperate. Tey looked
forward to the lightening of the heavy burdens, the abolition of war-time restrictions, and
the introduction of elemental liberties.
Te fronts are liquidated, but the old policies continue, and labor militarization is para-
lyzing industrial revival. lt is openly darged that the Communist Party is more interested
in entrending its political power than in saving the Revolution.
An official manifesto appeared today. lt is signed by lenin and Trotsky and declares
Kronstadt guilty of mutiny (myatezh). Te demand of the sailors for free Soviets is denounced
as “a counter-revolutionary conspiracy against the proletarian Republic.” Members of the
Communist Party are ordered into the mills and factories to “rally the workers to the support
of the Government against the traitors.” Kronstadt is to be suppressed.
Te Moscow radio station sent out a message addressed “to all, all, all”·
Petrograd is orderly and quiet, and even the few factories where accusations against the
Soviet Government were recently voiced now understand that it is the work of provocators…
just at this moment, when in America a new Republican régime is assuming the reins of
government and showing inclination to take up business relations with Soviet Russia, the
spreading of lying rumors and the organization of disturbances in Kronstadt have the sole
purpose of influencing the American President and danging his policy toward Russia. At the
same time the london Conference is holding its sessions, and the spreading of similar rumors
must influence also the Turkish delegation and make it more submissive to the demands of the
lntente. Te rebellion of the Petropavlovask crew is undoubtedly part of a great conspiracy
to create trouble within Soviet Russia and to injure our international position… Tis plan is
being carried out within Russia by a Tsarist general and former officers, and their activities
are supported by the Mensheviki and Social Revolutionists.
Te whole Northern District is under martial lawand all gatherings are interdicted. llab-
orate precautions have been taken to protect the Government institutions. Madine guns are
placed in the Astoria, the living quarters of Zinoviev and other prominent Bolsheviki. Tese
preparations are increasing general nervousness. Official proclamations command the im-
mediate return of the strikers to the factories, prohibit suspension of work, and warn the
populace against congregating in the streets.
Te Commiuee of Defense has initiated a “cleaning” of the city. Many workers sus-
pected of sympathizing with Kronstadt have been placed under arrest. All Petrograd sailors
and part of the garrison thought to be “untrustworthy” have been ordered to distant points,
while the families of Kronstadt sailors living in Petrograd are held as hostages. Te Com-
miuee of Defense notified Kronstadt that “the prisoners are kept as ‘pledges’ for the safety of
the Commissar of the Baltic lleet, N. N. Kusmin, the Chairman of the Kronstadt Soviet, T.
Vassiliev, and other Communists. lf the least harm be suffered by our comrades, the hostages
will pay with their lives.”
“We want no bloodshed,” Kronstadt wired in reply. “Not a single Communist has been
harmed by us.”
Te Petrograd workers are anxiously awaiting developments. Tey hope that the inter-
cession of the sailors may turn the situation in their favor. Te term of office of the Kronstadt
Soviet is about to expire, and arrangements are being made for the coming elections.
On Mard z a conference of delegates took place, at whid !cc representatives of the
ships, the garrison, the labor unions and factories were present, among them also a number
of Communists. Te Conference approved the Resolution passed by the mass-meeting the
previous day. lenin and Trotsky have declaredit counter-revolutionary and proof of a White
BAlTlC llllT
HllD MARCH 1, 1)z1
Having heard the report of the representatives sent by the General Meeting of
Ship Crews to Petrograd to investigate the situation there, Resolved·
1. ln view of the fact that the present Soviets do not express the will of the
workers and peasants, immediately to hold new elections by secret bal-
lot, the pre-election campaign to have full freedom of agitation among the
workers and peasants:
z. To establish freedom of speed and press for workers and peasants, for
Anardists and len Socialist parties:
!. To secure freedom of assembly for labor unions and peasant organizations:
´Te historic document, suppressed in Russia, is here reproduced in full.
.. To call a non-partisan Conference of the workers, Red Army soldiers and
sailors of Petrograd, Kronstadt, and of Petrograd Province, no later than
Mard 1), 1)z1:
¯. To liberate all political prisoners of Socialist parties, as well as all workers,
peasants, soldiers, and sailors imprisoned in connection with the labor and
peasant movements:
e. To elect a Commission to review the cases of those held in prison and
concentration camps:
¯. To abolish all politodeli (political bureaus) because no party should be
given special privileges in the propagation of its ideas or receive the finan-
cial support of the Government for sud purposes. lnstead there should
be established educational and cultural commissions, locally elected and
financed by the Government:
s. To abolish immediately all zagraditelniye otryadi (Armed units organized
by the Bolsheviki for the purpose of suppressing traffic and confiscating
foodstuffs and other products. Te irresponsibility and arbitrariness of
their methods were proverbial throughout the country).
). To equalize the rations of all who work, with the exception of those em-
ployed in trades detrimental to health:
1c. To abolish the Communist fighting detadments in all brandes of the
Army, as well as the Communist guards kept on duty in mills and fac-
tories. Should sud guards or military detadments be found necessary,
they are to be appointed in the Army from the ranks, and in the factories
according to the judgment of the workers:
11. To give the peasants f ull f freedom of action in regard to their land, and
also the right to keep caule, on condition that the peasants manage with
their own means: that is, without employing hired labor:
1z. To request all brandes of the Army, as well as our comrades, the military
kursanti, to concur in our resolutions:
1!. To demand for the lauer publicity in the press:
1.. To appoint a Traveling Commission of Control:
1¯. To permit free kustarnoye (individual small scale) production by one’s own
Resolution passed unanimously by Brigade Meeting, two persons refraining
from voting.
PlTRlCHlNKO, Chairman Brigade Meeting.
PlRlPllKlN, Secretary.
Resolution passed by an overwhelming majority of the Kronstadt garrison.
VASSllllV, Chairman.
Kalinin and Vassiliev vote against the Resolution.
Mar 4. — late at night. Te extraordinary session of the Petro-Soviet in the Tauride
Palace was paced with Communists, mostly youngsters, fanatical and intolerant. Admission
by special ticet: a propusk (permit) also had to be secured to return home aner interdicted
hours. Representatives of shops and labor commiuees were in the galleries, the seats in the
main body having been occupied by Communists. Some factory delegates were given the
floor, but the moment they auempted to state their case, they were shouted down. Zinoviev
repeatedly urged the meeting to give the opposition an opportunity to be heard, but his appeal
laced energy and conviction.
Not a voice was raised in favor of the Constituent Assembly. A millworker pleaded with
the Government to consider the complaints of the workers who are cold and hungry. Zi-
noviev replied that the strikers are enemies of the Soviet régime. Kalinin declared Kronstadt
the headquarters, of General Kozlovsky’s plot. A sailor reminded Zinoviev of the time when
he and lenin were hunted as counter-revolutionists by Kerensky and were saved by the very
sailors whom they now denounce as traitors. Kronstadt demands only honest elections, he
declared. He was not allowed to proceed. Te stentorian voice and impassioned appeal of
Yevdakimov, Zinoviev’s lieutenant, wrought the Communists up to a high pitd of excite-
ment. His resolution was passed amid a tumult of protest from the non-partisan delegates
and labor men. Te resolution declared Kronstadt guilty of a counter-revolutionary auempt
against the Soviet régime and demands its immediate surrender. lt is a declaration of war.
Mar 5. — Many Bolsheviki refuse to believe that the Soviet resolution will be carried
out. lt were too monstrous a thing to auac by force of arms the “pride and glory of the
Russian Revolution,” as Trotsky dristened the Kronstadt sailors. ln the circle of their friends
many Communists threaten to resign from the Party should sud a bloody deed come to pass.
Trotsky was to address the Petro-Soviet last evening. His failure to appear was interpreted
as indicating that the seriousness of the situation has been exaggerated. But during the night
he arrived and today he issued an ultimatum to Kronstadt·
Te Workers’ and Peasants’ Government has decreed that Kronstadt and the re-
bellious ships must immediately submit to the authority of the Soviet Republic.
Terefore, l command all who have raised their hand against the Socialist father-
land to lay down their arms at once. Te obdurate are to be disarmed and turned
over to the Soviet authorities. Te arrested Commissars and other representa-
tives of the Government are to be liberated at once. Only those surrendering
unconditionally may count on the mercy of the Soviet Republic.
Simultaneously l am issuing orders to prepare to quell the mutiny and subdue
the mutineers by force of arms. Responsibility for the harm that may be suffered
by the peaceful population will fall entirely upon the heads of the counterrevo-
lutionary mutineers.
Tis warning is final.
Chairman Revolutionary Mititary Soviet of the Republic.
Te city is on the verge of panic. Te factories are closed, and there are rumors of demon-
strations and riots. Treats against Jews are becoming audible. Military forces continue to
flow into Petrograd and environs. Trotsky has sent another demand to Kronstadt to surren-
der, the order containing the threat· “l’ll shoot you like pheasants.” lven some Communists
are indignant at the tone assumed by the Government. lt is a fatal error, they say, to interpret
the workers’ plea for bread as opposition. Kronstadt’s sympathy with the strikers and their
demand for honest elections have been turned by Zinoviev into a counter-revolutionary plot.
l have talked the situation over with several friends, among them a number of Communists.
We feel there is yet time to save the situation. A commission in whid the sailors and work-
ers would have confidence, could allay the roused passions and find a satisfactory solution
of the pressing problems. lt is incredible that a comparatively unimportant incident, as the
original strike in the Trubotdny mill, should be deliberately provoked into civil war with all
the bloodshed it entails.
Te Communists with whom l have discussed the suggestion all favor it, but dare not
take the initiative. No one believes in the Kozlovsky story. All agree that the sailors are
the staundest supporters of the Soviets: their object is to compel the authorities to grant
needed reforms. To a certain degree they have already succeeded. Te zagraditelniye otryadi,
notoriously brutal and arbitrary, have been abolished in the Petrograd province, and certain
labor organizations have been given permission to send representatives to the villages for
the purdase of food. During the last two days special rations and clothing have also been
issued to several factories. Te Government fears a general uprising. Petrograd is now in an
“extraordinary state of siege”: being out of doors is permiued only till nine in the evening.
But the city is quiet. l expect no serious upheaval if the authorities can be prevailed upon
to take a more reasonable and just course. ln the hope of opening the road to a peaceful
solution, l have submiued to Zinoviev a plan of arbitration signed by persons friendly to the
To the Petrograd Soviet of labor and Defense,
To remain silent now is impossible, even criminal. Recent events impel us An-
ardists to speak out and to declare our auitude in the present situation.
Te spirit of ferment manifest among the workers and sailors is the result of
causes that demand our serious auention. Cold and hunger had produced dis-
content, and the absence of any opportunity for discussion and criticism is forc-
ing the workers and sailors to air their grievances in the open.
White-guardist bands wish and may try to exploit this dissatisfaction in their
own class interests. Hiding behind the workers and sailors they throw out slo-
gans of the Constituent Assembly, of free trade, and similar demands.
We Anardists have long exposed the fiction of these slogans, and we declare to
the whole world that we will fight with arms against any counter-revolutionary
auempt, in coöperation with all friends of the Social Revolution and hand in
hand with the Bolsheviki.
Concerning the conflict between the Soviet Government and the workers and
sailors, we hold that it must be seuled not by force of arms, but by means of
comradely agreement. Resorting to bloodshed, on the part of the Soviet Gov-
ernment, will not — in the given situation — intimidate or quieten the workers.
On the contrary, it will serve only to aggravate mauers and will strengthen the
hands of the lntente and of internal counter-revolution.
More important still, the use of force by the Workers’ and Peasants’ Govern-
ment against workers and sailors will have a demoralizing effect upon the in-
ternational revolutionary movement and will result in incalculable harm to the
Social Revolution.
Comrades Bolsheviki, bethink yourselves before it is too late! Do not play with
fire· you are about to take a most serious and decisive step.
We hereby submit to you the following proposition· let a Commission be se-
lected to consist of five persons, inclusive of two Anardists. Te Commission
is to go to Kronstadt to seule the dispute by peaceful means. ln the given situ-
ation this is the most radical method. lt will be of international revolutionary
Petrograd, Mard ¯, J)z1.
Mar 6. — Today Kronstadt sent out by radio, A statement of its position. lt reads·
Our cause is just, we stand for the power of Soviets, not parties. We stand for
freely elected representatives of the laboring masses. Te substitute Soviets ma-
nipulated by the Communist Party have always been deaf to our needs and
demands: the only reply we have ever received was shooting… Comrades! Tey
deliberately pervert the truth and resort to most despicable defamation… ln Kro-
nstadt the whole power is exclusively in the hands of the revolutionary sailors,
soldiers and workers — not with counter-revolutionists led by some Kozlovsky,
as the lying Moscow radio tries to make you believe… Do not delay, Comrades!
join us, get in toud with us· demand admission to Kronstadt for your delegates.
Only they will tell you the whole truth and will expose the fiendish calumny
about linnish bread and lntente offers.
long live the revolutionary proletariat and the peasantry!
long live the power of freely elected Soviets.
Mar 7. — Distant rumbling reades my ears as cross the Nevsky. lt sounds again,
stronger and nearer, as if rolling toward me. All at once l realize that artillery is being fired.
lt is e P.M. Kronstadt has been auaced!
Days of anguish and cannonading. My heart is numb with despair: something has died
within me. Te people on the streets look bowed with grief, bewildered. No one· trusts
himself to speak. Te thunder of heavy guns rends the air.
Mar 17. — Kronstadt has fallen today.
Tousands of sailors and workers lie dead in its streets. Summary execution of prisoners
and hostages continues.
Mar18. —Te victors are celebrating the anniversary of the Commune of 1s¯1. Trotsky
and Zinoviev denounce Tiers and Gallifet for the slaughter of the Paris rebels…
Chapter 39
Last Links in the Chain
Pensively Pushkin stands on his stone pedestal, viewing life flowing by on the square bearing
his name. On the boulevard the trees are smiling with budding green, and promenaders bask
in the April sun. lamiliar sight of Moscow streets, yet with a strange new atmosphere about
the people. Te vision of Kronstadt had flashed across the city: its dead embers lie ashen
gray on the faces. l sense the disconsolate spirit in the procession of diverse type and auire
— workmen in torn footgear, rags wrapped about their legs: students in blac shirts belted
at the waist, the tails fluuering in the breeze: peasants in lapti of woven straw, soldiers in
long gray coats, and dark-skinned sons of the Caucasus in brighter colors. Young women
mingle with them, in short skirts and bare legs, some wearing men’s boots. Most of them are
painted, even the liule girls. Boldly they gaze at the men, inviting them with their eyes.
Gay music sounds from the garden nearby. At the liule tables white-aproned waiters
serve food and drinks to the guests. Groups gather at the gate sullenly watding the novel
scene. “Bourzhooi! Damned speculators!” they muuer. Te nep' is at work.
All along the street stores have been opened, their windows washed, freshly painted
signs announcing private ownership. Provisions in large quantity and variety are exposed to
view. Resentfully men and women crowd on the sidewalk, their eyes devouring the tempting
display. “No food for rations!” some one comments sarcastically. “Tat’s what we’ve been
shedding our blood for!” a soldier exclaims with an oath.
On the corner a feminine voice hails me, “Ah, the American tovarisht!” lt is lena,
my young acquaintance of the raid of the Okhotny market, over a year ago. She looks very
fragile, her paleness accentuated by her crimsoned lips. Tere is unwonted self-consciousness
in her manner, and the pink mounts her face under my gaze. “You see, l didn’t manage to get
away,” she says wearily.
“Get away`” l asked in surprise.
“Don’t you remember` lt was America or —,” she breaks off with a forced smile.
'Popular abbreviation of the “New lconomic Policy reestablishing capitalism. lntroduced by the Tenth
Congress of Soviets during the Kronstadt days.
We are in front of a sumptuous delicatessen store. Men in starded shirts and white
collars, looking offensively opulent, and elegantly dressed women carry their purdases with
free, assured manner. Ragged dildren besiege them for alms. Te passers-by scowl at them
angrily. “How many times l was arrested for ‘speculation,’ ” lena remarks biuerly.
Remembering my visit to her home, l inquire aner her family. “Mother, Baby, and Yasha
died from typhus,” she replies dully. “Tat’s what the certificate said, but l know it was
“Your cousin`”
“Oh, she is doing well. With some Communist. l’m all alone in the world now.”
“Poor lena,” escapes me.
“Oh, l don’t want your pity,” she cries disconsolately. “Wish l’d died with mother.”
lurther on the Tverskaya l find “Golos Truda,” the Anardist publishing house, closed, a
Tdeka seal on the loc. A man is peering through the window at the havoc wrought within
by the raiders. His Red Army cap does not conceal the fresh scars on his head. With surprise
l recognize Stepan, my Petrograd soldier friend. He had been wounded in the Kronstadt
campaign, he informs me: the Petrograd hospitals were crowded, and he was sent to Moscow.
Now he has been disdarged, but he is so weak he is barely able to walk.
“We crossed the Neva at night,” he relates: “all in white shrouds like so many ghosts —you
couldn’t tell us from the snow on the frozen river. Some of the boys didn’t want to advance,”
he looks at me significantly. “Te Communist detadment bac of us trained madine guns
on them — there was no hesitating. Te artillery belded from our side: some shots fell short,
striking the ice just in front of us. ln a flash whole companies disappeared, guns and all, sunk
into the deep. lt was a frightful night.” He pauses a moment: then, bending close to me, he
whispers· “ln Kronstadt l learned the truth. lt’s we who were the counter-revolutionists.”
Te Universalist Club on the Tverskaya is deserted, its active members imprisoned since
the Kronstadt events. Anardists from various parts have been brought to the city, and are
now in the Butirki and Taganka jails. ln connection with the growing labor discontent se-
vere reprisals are taking place against the revolutionary element and the Communist labor
Opposition whid demands industrial democracy.
Te situation handicaps the work of the Peter Kropotkin Memorial Commiuee, in the
interests of whid l have come to the capital. Te Moscow Soviet passed a resolution to
aid “Golos Truda” in the publication of the complete works of the great Anardist thinker,
but the Government closed the establishment. Te Soviet also donated the house where
Kropotkin was born as a home for the Museum, but every auempt to get the place vacated
by the Communist organization now occuping it has failed. Te official auitude negates all
our efforts.
April 15. — Unexpected visitors today. l sat in my room (in the apartment of a private
family in leontievsky Alley) when an official entered, accompanied by the house porter and
two soldiers. He introduced himself as an agent of the newly organized department “for the
improvement of the workers’ mode of life,” and l could not suppress a smile when he solemnly
informed me that the campaign for the benefit of the proletarians is directed by the Tdeka.
Beuer quarters are to be put at the disposal of the toilers, he announced: my room is among
those to be “requisitioned” for that purpose. l should have to leave within twenty-four hours.
ln entire sympathy with his object, l called the official’s auention to the uuer impossibility
of securing even bed space at sud short notice. Permission and “assignments” must first be
procured from the Housing Bureau, a procedure whid at best takes a week’s time: onen it
requires months. Without deigning a reply the Tdekist stepped into the hallway: opening
the first door at hand, he said curtly· “You can stay here in the meantime.”
A burst of soapy vapor swept against us. Trough the clouds of steam l discerned a
bedstead, a liule table, and a woman bending over the washtub.
“Tovarisht, here lives — ,” the house porter remarked timidly.
“lt’s big enough for two,” the official retorted.
“But it’s occupied by a woman,” l protested.
“You’ll manage somehow,” he laughed coarsely.
Days spent at the offices of the Housing Bureau bring no results. But a week passes, then
another, and no tenants appear to claim my room. Te department for the “improvement of
the workers’ mode of life” is apparently more interested in “requisitioning” occupied lodgings
than in puuing them at the disposal of the proletarians. Only influence in high places or a
generous “gin” secures the favor.´
Unexpectedly a friendly Communist comes to the rescue. lt is arranged that my room
be assigned to the Kropotkin Memorial Commission for an office· being the secretary l am
permiued to retain it as my living quarters.
April 30. — Dark rumors circulate in the city. Tree hundred politicals are said to have
disappeared fromthe Butirki prison. Removed by force at night, it is reported: some executed.
Te Tdeka refuses information.
Several days pass in tortuous uncertainty — many of my friends are among the missing.
People living in the neighborhood of the prison tell of frightful cries heard that night and
sounds of desperate struggle. Te authorities profess complete ignorance.
Gradually the facts begin to leak out. lt has become known that the fineen hundred
non-politicals in the Butirki had declared a hunger strike in protest against the unhygienic
conditions. Te cells were overcrowded and unspeakably filthy, the doors loced even by
day, the toilet bucets seldom removed, poisoning the air with fetid smells. Te sanitary
commission had warned the administration of the imminent danger of an epidemic, but its
recommendations were ignored. Ten the strike broke out. On the fourth day some of the
prisoners became hysterical. Unearthly yells and the rauling of iron doors shook the prison
for hours, the uproar rousing the neighborhood in alarm. Te politicals did not participate in
the demonstration. Segregated in a separate wing, they had by collective action compelled
concessions. Teir situation was mud more tolerable than that of the “common” prisoners.
But their sense of human kinship determined them to intercede. Teir expostulations finally
induced the Tdeka to declare the demands of the hunger strikers just and to promise im-
´Several months later the entire Moscow Housing Department, comprising several hundred agents and dief
commissars, was arrested an darges of gran.
mediate relief. Tereupon the “commoners” terminated their protest, and the incident was
apparently closed.
But a few days later, on the night of April z¯, a detadment of soldiers and Tdekists
suddenly appeared in the prison. One by one the cells of the politicals were auaced, the
men beaten and the women dragged by their hair into the yard, most of them in their night
clothes. Some of the victims, fearing they were being taken to execution, resisted. Buus of
guns and revolvers silenced them. Overcome, they were forced into automobiles and taken
to the railroad station.
lnvestigation by the Moscow Soviet has now elicited the information that the kidnapped
politicals, comprising Mensheviki, Social Revolutionists of the Right and len, and Anardists,
have been isolated in rigorous solitary in the most dreaded Tsarist prisons in Ryazan, Orlov,
Yaroslavl, and Vladimir.
June. — lntensive preparations are being made for the reception of the foreign delega-
tions. Te Congress of the Comintern (Communist lnternational) and first Conference of the
Red Trade Unions are to be held simultaneously.
Te city is in holiday auire. Red flags and banners decorate official buildings and the
residences of prominent Bolsheviki. Te filth of months is carted off the streets: swarms
of dild hucsters are being arrested: the beggars have disappeared from their customary
haunts, and the Tverskaya is cleared of prostitutes. Te main thoroughfares are emblazoned
with revolutionary mouoes, and colored posters illustrate the “triumph of Communism.”
ln the Hotel luxe, palatial hostelry of the capital, are quartered the influential represen-
tatives of the foreign Communist parties. Te street in front is lined with automobiles: l
recognize the Royce of Karakhan and Zinoviev’s madine from the garages of the Kremlin.
lrequent tours are arranged to places of historic interest and Bolshevik meccas, always un-
der the guidance of auendants and interpreters selected by the Tdeka. Within there is an
atmosphere of feverish activity. Te brilliant banquet hall is crowded. Te velvety cushions
and bright foliage of the smoking room are restful to the delegates of the Western proletariat.
On the sidewalk opposite the Hotel women and dildren lurk in the hallways. lurtively
they watd the soldiers unloading huge loaves of bread from a truc. A few dunks have
fallen to the ground — the urdins dart under the wagon in a mad scramble.
All traffic is suspended on the Teatre Square. Soldiers in new uniforms and polished
boots, and mounted troopers form a double dain around the big square, completely shuuing
off access. Only holders of special cards, provided with photographs and properly auested,
are permiued to pass to the Big Teatre. Te Congress of the Comintern is in session.
July 4. —Polyglot speedfills my roomfar into the small hours of the morning. Delegates
from distant lands call to discuss Russia and the Revolution. As in a dream they vision the
glory of revelation and are thrilled with admiration for the Bolsheviki. With glowing fervor
they dwell on the wondrous adievements of Communism. like a jagged scalpel their naïve
faith tears at my heart where bleeding lie my own high hopes, the hopes of my first days in
Russia, deflowered and blighted by the ruthless hand of dictatorship.
Most sanguine and confident are the latest arrivals, secluded in the atmosphere of the
luxe and entirely unfamiliar with the life and thought of the people. lascinated and awed,
they marvel at the genius of the Party and its amazing success. Tyranny and oppression in
Russia are things of the past, they believe: the masses have become free, for the first time in
the annals of man. lgnorance and poverty, the evil heritage of Tsardom and long civil war,
will soon be outlived, and plenty shall be the birthright of everyone in the land where the
disinherited have become the masters of life.
Occasionally in the discussion a discordant note is sounded by the new economic policy.
Te seeming deflection from avowed principles is perplexing. Does it not hold the menace
of returning capitalism` A smile of benevolent superiority waves the timid questioner aside.
Te nep is ingenious camouflage, he is assured. lt is of no particular significance — at most, it
is a temporary expedient, an economic Brest-litovsk in a way, to be swept away at the first
blast of revolution in, the West.
Te more reflective among the delegates are disturbed. life in revolutionary Russia is too
reminiscent of home· some are well-fed and well-clad, others hungry and in rags: the wage
system continues, and all things can be bought and sold. Apologetically, almost guiltily, they
express the apprehension that legalization of commerce might cultivate the psydology of
the trader, whid lenin always insisted must be destroyed. But they are resentfully terrified
when a Hindoo visitor suggests that the Tdeka had apparently flogged the peasants into
taking the whip into their own hands.
Day by day the problems of the Revolution are discussed with increasing understanding
of the causes responsible for the great deviation from the road entered upon in October, 1)1¯.
But the pressing need of the present centers the greatest auention. “Tough Syndicalists, we
have joined the Tird lnternational,” the Spanish delegate announces: “we believe it the duty
of all revolutionists to coöperate with the Bolsheviki at this critical period.”
“Tey won’t let us,” one of the Russians replies.
“All can help in the economic reconstruction,” the Spaniard urges.
“You think so`” the visiting Petrograd worker demands. “You’ve heard of the great
strikes last winter, haven’t you` Te wood famine was the main cause of the trouble, and the
Communists themselves were responsible for it.”
“How is that`” a lrend delegate inquires.
“Te usual Bolshevik methods. A man of proven organizing genius was at the head of the
Petrograd fuel department. His name` Never mind — he’s an old revolutionist who spent ten
years in Sdlüsselburg under the old régime. He kept the city supplied with wood and coal:
he even organized a brand in Moscow for the same purpose. He surrounded himself with a
staff of efficient men: many of the American deportees were among them, and they succeeded
where the Government had previously failed. But one day Dzerzhinsky got the notion that
the fuel manager was permiued too mud scope. Te Moscow brand was liquidated, and in
Petrograd a political commissar was placed over him, handicapping and interfering with his
work. Te famine was the result.”
“But why` Why was it done`” several delegates exclaim.
“He was an Anardist.”
“Tere must have been some misunderstanding,” the Australian suggests.
“Te policy of the Communists throughout the country,” the Russian says sadly.
“lriends, let us forget past mistakes,” the lrendman appeals. “l’m sure closer contact
can be brought about between the Government and the revolutionary elements. l’ll speak
to lenin about it. We in lrance see no reason for this strife. All revolutionists should work
together with the Bolsheviki.”
“Most of them are in prison,” a former sailor remarks biuerly.
“l don’t mean those who took up arms against the Republic,” the lrendman retorts.
“Counter-revolution, like that of Kronstadt, must be crushed, and — ”
“Don’t repeat Bolshevik lies,” the sailor interrupts vehemently. “Kronstadt fought for free
“l know only what l heard from Communist comrades,” the lrendman continues. “But l
am convinced that all real revolutionists, like len S. R.’s, Anardists, and Syndicalists should
work together with the Communist Party.”
“Almost all of them in prison,” the Petrograd man repeats.
“lmpossible!” the Spanish delegate protests. “Te Communists have assured me that only
bandits and counter-revolutionists are in jail.”
A small, slender woman in a faded jacet hastily enters the room. She is greatly agitated
and very pale. “Comrades,” she announces, “the thirteen Anardists in the Taganka have
gone on a hunger strike.” With trembling voice she adds· “lt’s to the death.”
July 9. — Opposition has developed at the Trade Union Congress against the domina-
tion of the Comintern. All important mauers are first decided by the lauer before being
submiued to the labor men. Te delegates resent the autocratic methods of the Communist
dairman: the inequitable distribution of votes is a source of constant friction. Te Bolsheviki
are darged with “pacing” the Congress with delegates from countries having no industrial
movement. An atmosphere of disillusionment and biuerness pervades the sessions. Te
lrend delegation threatens to bolt.
Some of the Germans, Swedish, and Spanish members are perturbed by the general sit-
uation. Tey have come in contact with the actual conditions: they have sensed the spirit
of popular discontent and caught a glimpse of the dasm between Communist claims and
the reality. Te hunger strikes of the politicals, in Moscow, Petrograd, and other cities have
become a subject of great concern. Te prisoners are undernourished and exhausted: the des-
perate decision jeopardizes their lives. lt were criminal to permit sud a tragedy. Moreover,
it is felt that their protest is justified. ln defiance of the Soviet Constitution, the politicals
have been kept in prison for months, some even for years, without darges being brought
against them.
Te foreign delegates propose to call the subject to the auention of the Congress. Tey
will refuse to coöperate with the Bolsheviki, they assert, while their comrades remain in
prison without cause. learing a serious rupture, some delegates secured an audience with
lenin. Te lauer declared that the Government would not tolerate opposition: hunger strikes
cannot swerve it from its purpose, though all the politicals dose to starve to death. But he
would agree to have the imprisoned Anardists deported from Russia, hesaid. Te mauer is
to be immediately submiued to the Central Commiuee of the Party.
July 10. — lighth day of the Taganka hunger strike. Te men very weak: most of them
unable to walk: several have developed heart trouble. Te young student Sheroshevsky is
dying from consumption.
Te Central Commiuee has taken action on lenin’s suggestion. A joint commiuee repre-
senting the Government and the foreign delegates has been formed to arrange the conditions
of release and deportation of the Anardists. But so far the conferences have brought no
results. Dzerzhinsky and Unsdlidt, now acting head of the Tdeka, claim there are no real
Anardists in the prisons: just bandits, they declare. Tey have thrown the burden of proof
upon the delegates by demanding that the lauer submit a complete list of those to be re-
leased. Te delegates feel that the mauer is being sabotaged to gain time till the Trade Union
Congress closes.
July 13. — At last we succeeded in holding a session this evening. Trotsky was absent,
his place taken by lunatcbarsky as the representative of the Party. Te conference was held
in the Kremlin.
Unsdlidt, a stocy young man, dark featured and morose, in every gesture expressed
his resentment of “foreign interference” in his sphere. He would not speak directly to the
delegates, addressing himself only to lunatdarsky. His frank discourtesy unpleasantly af-
fected the foreigners, and the conference was conducted in a formal, stiff manner. Aner
mud wrangling the Commiuee readed an agreement, as a result of whid the following
communication was sent to the prisoners·
Comrades, in view, of the fact that we have come to the conclusion that your
hunger strike cannot accomplish your liberation, we hereby advise you to ter-
minate it.
At the same time we inform you that definite proposals have been made to us
by Comrade lunatdarsky, in the name of the Central Commiuee of the Com-
munist Party. To wit·
1. All Anardists held in the prisons of Russia, and who are now on a hunger
strike, will be permiued to leave for any country they may doose. Tey
will be supplied with passports and funds.
z. Concerning other imprisoned Anardists or those out of prison, final ac-
tion will be taken by the Party tomorrow. lt is the opinion of Comrade
lunatdarsky that the decision in their case will be similar to the present
!. We have received the promise indorsed by Unsdlidt, that the families of
the comrades to go abroad will be permiued to follow them if they so wish.
lor conspirative reasons some time will have to elapse before this is done.
.. Te comrades going abroad will be permiued two or three days at liberty
before their departure, to enable them to arrange their affairs.
¯. Tey will not be allowed to return to Russia without the consent of the
Soviet Government.
e. Most of these conditions are contained in the leuer received by this del-
egation from the Central Commiuee of the Communist Party, signed by
¯. Te foreign comrades have been authorized to see to it that these condi-
tions are properly carried out.
llVAl Spain
MlCHll lrance
A. SHAPlRO Russia
Te above is correct.
Kremlin, Moscow,
Alexander Berkman declines to sign because
a. he is opposed to deportation on principle:
b. he considers the leuer an arbitrary and unjustified curtailment of the orig-
inal offer of the Central Commiuee, according to whid all the Anardists
were to be permiued to leave Russia:
c. he demands more time at liberty for those to be released, to enable them
to recuperate before deportation.
July 14. — Te hunger protest was terminated last night. Te prisoners are momentarily
expecting to be freed. lxtremely weakened and in highly nervous state aner eleven days of
like a bombshell came Bukharin’s auac upon the Anardists in the closing hour of the
Trade Union Congress. Tough not a delegate, he secured the platform and in the name of
the Communist Party denounced the hunger strikers as counter-revolutionists. Te whole
Anardist movement of Russia, he declared, is criminal banditism waging warfare against
the Soviet Republic: it is identical with Makhno and his povstantsi who are exterminating
Communists and fighting against the Revolution.
Te session was thrown into an uproar. Te majority of delegates resented this bread
of faith in view of the tacit agreement to eliminate the mauer from the Congress. But the
dairman refused to permit a rejoinder, declaring the subject closed. A storm of indignation
swept the house.
Te insistence of the Congress at last compelled a hearing, and a lrend delegate took
the floor to reply to Bukharin’s darges. ln the name of the Revolution he solemnly protested
against the sinister Madiavelian diplomacy of the Bolsheviki. To auac the opposition at
the closing of the Congress, without an opportunity of defense, he declared, was an act of
perfidy unworthy of a revolutionary party. lts sole purpose was to prejudice the departing
delegates against the revolutionary minority and justify continued political persecution: its
obviously desired effect to annul the conciliatory efforts of the joint Commiuee.
August 10. — Days and weeks are passing: the politicals still remain in prison. Te
conferences of the Joint Commiuee have practically ceased — rarely can the representatives
of the Government be induced to auend. Te promises of lenin and lunatdarsky are broken.
Te Tdeka has made the resolution of the lxecutive Commiuee of the Party ineffective.
Te Congresses are closed, and most of the delegates have departed.
September 17. — At noon today the hunger strikers were released from the Taganka,
two months aner the Government had pledged their liberation. Te men look worn and old,
withered by anguish and privation. Tey have been put under surveillance and forbidden
to meet their comrades. lt is said weeks will pass before opportunity will be given them to
leave the country. Tey are not permiued to work and they have no means of subsistence.`
Te Tdeka declares that no other politicals will be freed. Arrests of revolutionists are taking
place throughout the country.
September 30. — With bowed heart l seek a familiar bend in the park. Here liule lanya
sat at my side. Her face was turned to the sun, her whole being radiant with idealism. Her
silvery laughter rang with the joy of youth and life, but l trembled for her safety at every
approading step. “Do not fear,” she kept reassuring me, “no one will know me in my peasant
Now she is dead. lxecuted yesterday by the Tdeka as a “bandit.”⁴
Gray are the passing days. One by one the embers of hope have died out. Terror and
despotismhave crushed the life born in October. Te slogans of the Revolution are foresworn,
its ideals stifled in the blood of the people. Te breath of yesterday is dooming millions to
death: the shadow of today hangs like a blac pall over the country. Dictatorship is trampling
the masses under foot. Te Revolution is dead: its spirit cries in the wilderness.
High time the truth about the Bolsheviki were told. Te whited sepulder must be un-
masked, the clay feet of the fetish beguiling the international proletariat to fatal will o’ the
wisps exposed. Te Bolshevik myth must be destroyed.
l have decided to leave, Russia.
`Not till January, 1)zz, were the released Taganka Anardists deported to Germany.
⁴lanya Baron and lev Tdorny, Anardist poet and author, were executed with eight other prisoners by the
Moscow Tdeka in September, 1)z1.
Tni Ax~icnis1 lini~iv
June s, zc1c
Author· Alexander Berkman
Title· Te Bolshevik Myth (Diary 1)zc–zz)
Publication date· 1)z¯
Retrieved on Mard 1!th, zcc) from
Te Bolshevik Myth, New York, Boni and liveright, 1)z¯.

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